We cannot afford to miss next best solutions in Syria

by Danish Refugee Council | Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark
Friday, 14 March 2014 10:41 GMT

Photo: Jesper Guhle DRC

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Three years into the Syrian conflict the crisis still intensifies and so far resulting in the displacement of more than nine million people scattered across Syria and the region. While the situation is extreme and a peace agreement seems distant the situation is also diverse and the humanitarian community must keep exploring any possible solution however local or individual.

Inside Syria the conflict scenario is constantly changing leaving an ever rising number of people exposed and causing new displacement. Across the region, hosting of millions of refugees is leaving receiving capacity under increasing pressure and causing tensions.   The Syrian conflict has transformed into a complex regional crisis.

“We are facing an extreme situation and there is no immediate solution in sight. Our efforts will not be sufficient or erase the continued loss of lives, homes and possibilities for civilian Syrians. However, we can and must make a difference wherever and whenever possible,” says Secretary General for Danish Refugee Council, Andreas Kamm.

With 21 offices and more than 900 staff members in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Libya the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and its demining unit the Danish Demining Group (DDG) is assisting between 350.000 and half a million displaced every month. The sectors of intervention include emergency relief, shelter, protection, water and sanitation, education and vocational training and Mine Risk Education inside and outside refugee camps in urban as well as rural settings.

“Complex emergencies demands flexible solutions and we are constantly testing the limits of possibility. In Syria when a corridor opens and an emergency convoy is able to reach areas in need, in Lebanon when arriving refugees need to be located and assisted outside of formal camps across large geographical areas in abandoned buildings or tented settlements, in the Kurdish region of Iraq when we help refugees finding work with local businesses or in Community Centers in Turkey when a game of football between refugees and local youth helps decrease tensions – the needs are very different and our solutions must reflect that fact” says Andreas Kamm.

The regional presence of the Danish Refugee Council offers the ability to relocate staff and resources when urgent needs arise.

“Another form of flexibility is the fast deployment of resources when unforeseen emergencies develop. We have seen it several times this winter - in the North of Iraq when 80.000 Syrian refugees arrived within a few weeks, outside of Damascus in Nabeek og Adra Sennai when a similar number of internally displaced arrived and in Aarsal in the North of Lebanon when almost 30.000 refugees crossed the border in the middle of a snowstorm. We were able to respond fast because we plan for and expect the unforeseen, “ says Andreas Kamm.

DRC has been present in the Middle East since late 2003. Over the years, the program has developed in both geographical spread and the types of assistance provided following the multiple conflict-induced displacement in the region. At the moment the Syrian crisis is the single largest DRC emergency operation.