* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.Main activities
Syria is the ICRC's largest operation in terms of financial resources. The ICRC's Syria headquarters is in Damascus and we maintain a presence in Aleppo and Tartous. Over two-hundred staff work in the country, distributing food and other essentials, restoring water supplies and re-establishing contact between people separated by the conflict.Emergency aid for over a million people
In February, the ICRC supplied food to over 770,000 people in ten governorates, including Damascus, Rural Damascus, Homs and Deir Ez Zor. The vast majority of beneficiaries were internally displaced persons (IDPs). Over 4,000 IDPs living in collective shelters in Homs and Damascus received daily meals through collective kitchens supported by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and supplied by the ICRC. Over 237,000 other IDPs received essential household items such as hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses and kitchen sets.Water and sanitation projects that benefit millions across the country
Damascus, Aleppo and Tartous-based ICRC water and sanitation teams continued to work with the SARC and local water boards to provide clean water and sanitation and to meet housing needs across front lines. A range of projects directly benefited over 200,000 people. Support for local water authorities contributed to the supply of clean water to millions.
In Aleppo, ICRC support resulted in the provision of clean water for over 1.5 million people, many of them affected by the fighting. Trucks hired by the ICRC also supplied clean water for over 101,000 residents of Homs, Rural Damascus and Deir Ez Zour. We upgraded 65 Â centres for IDPs and distributed over 148,000 bottles of water.
ICRC teams worked closely with local engineers, making repairs and supplying essential parts and urgently needed chemicals to several key springs, water stations and water treatment plants.Health
In February, the ICRC provided medical supplies, consumables and surgical instruments to four medical facilities in government- and opposition-controlled areas. The Damascus-based ICRC health team donated two hospital kits in Barzeh, making it possible to treat 100 patients. We donated external fixators and instruments to hospitals in both Eastern and Western Aleppo. Support continued for seven mobile health units and one clinic run by the SARC. These facilities serve particularly vulnerable communities, including people displaced by the conflict.Protection
As part of the ICRC's efforts to re-establish contact between people separated by the conflict, the Damascus delegation received 373 tracing requests (including 352 allegations of arrest, which it forwarded to the relevant authorities). Responses to these requests and allegations are pending.Figures, January - February 2014Emergency aid
The ICRC worked closely with the SARC to provide:food for over 770,000 people in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Dara'a, Quneitra, Sweida, Homs, Tartous, Latttakia, Hamma and Deir Ez Zor Governorates;daily meals for over 4,000 people living in collective shelters in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Dara'a, Quneitra, Sweida, Homs, Tartous, Latttakia, Hamma and Deir Ez Zor Governorates;essential household items such as hygiene kits, blankets, towels, mattresses, candles, kitchen sets, buckets and rechargeable lights for over 237,000 internally displaced persons in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Dara'a, Quneitra, Sweida, Homs, Tartous, Latttakia and Hama Governorates.Water and sanitation
The ICRC worked closely with the SARC and local water boards to provide:repairs and equipment for Aleppo water plants providing clean water to over 1.6 million people;dozens of tanker trucks that brought water to over 101,000 people in Homs, Rural Damascus, and Deir Ez Zor;upgrades to 65 IDP centres, ensuring clean water, proper sanitation and decent housing for 23,400 people;over 148,000 litres of bottled drinking water for people in Adra and Hama;30 tonnes of salt for water treatment at Al Haroush Spring in Rural Damascus, serving over 50,000 people;70 tonnes of sodium hypochlorite to treat water in Rural Damascus, benefiting over 4 million people;50 tonnes of sodium hypochlorite to treat water at Al Figeh springs, Damascus, which provide water to 4 million people;cables for a borehole generator in Rural Damascus and two pumps for water stations in Rural Damascus and Dara'a, serving over 158,000 people in total;equipment to repair a water main in Dara'a, ensuring clean water for over 75,000 people.Health
The ICRC worked closely with the SARC to provide:10 stretchers for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society so they could evacuate patients from Yarmouk Camp, Damascus;medical items and equipment for Damascus National Hospital, including an operating table and surgical instruments;two hospital kits to treat 100 patients in Barzeh District, north-west of Damascus;external fixators and instruments for Eastern and Western Aleppo hospitals;support for seven mobile health units and one clinic run by the SARC;medical supplies, consumables and surgical instruments for four medical facilities in government- and opposition-controlled areas.Protection
The ICRC:received over 373 tracing requests (including 352 allegations of arrest, which it forwarded to the authorities);provided 16 people who had no valid identification with ICRC temporary travel documents issued in coordination with the Syrian authorities and the UNHCR, enabling them to resettle outside Syria;facilitated travel to and from the occupied Golan for nine students;provided 11 official documents for Syrian families separated by the Golan demarcation line, enabling them to qualify for State allowances or to settle inheritance and property issues;received 25 Red Cross messages, mainly from Syrians detained abroad, which we intend to distribute to their relatives in Syria.