Deadly Syria Crisis Enters Fourth Year

by AmeriCares | AmeriCares
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:03 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Now entering its fourth year, the deadly conflict in Syria has emerged as one of the world's most urgent humanitarian crises, with more than 6.5 million persons displaced within Syria and another 2.5 million refugees fleeing the violence into neighboring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

To date, we have provided nearly $3.5 million in medical and humanitarian relief to local organizations best positioned to help victims of the crisis.

A major health crisis has emerged as a result of the conflict: Many Syrian hospitals and health centers are damaged or destroyed and are experiencing major shortages in medicines and medical staff. The fighting has also caused significant damage to the pharmaceutical plants that produced 90 percent of the medicine in the country, according to U.N. agencies.

"The scale and brutality of this relentless civil war has had a devastating impact on the Syrian people," explained Karl Erdmann, emergency response manager at AmeriCares. "With so many completely cut off from any kind of assistance, millions of people in dire need have overwhelmed local resources and aid organizations."

Over the past two years, AmeriCares has deployed emergency response teams to Jordan and Turkey to meet with partners working in the region and assess the urgent needs of Syrian refugees. Our response to date includes:

Five shipments of medical aid to partners delivering health care services at refugee camps in Syria, Turkey and Jordan, filling a crucial gap in health care needs. Nearly $2 million in medical aid has been delivered, including enough antibiotics and other medicines to treat an estimated 37,000 people, 28,000 bags of IV fluids and 32,500 injections of atropine — enough treatments for up to 2,000 people exposed to nerve gas. Two grants to help partners with local procurements of essential drugs and urgently needed medical equipment. $1.5+ million in medical aid to volunteer health care teams providing lifesaving medical care to Syrians in need throughout the region through our Medical Outreach Program.

To mark the 3-year anniversary of the crisis, AmeriCares joined a coalition of organizations in the #WithSyria campaign, to raise awareness about the urgent needs of families affected by the conflict.

"These families have already suffered enough. The catastrophe in Syria has continued to escalate. Despite the amount of aid mobilized to deal with the crisis, the needs on the ground far outstrip available resources. It's critical that we continue delivering medicines and relief supplies to help meet basic health needs," Erdmann said.