The intensity of the humanitarian crisis affecting Syria and its neighbours since the beginning of 2011 shows no signs of abating. For the peoples of the region, the consequences are catastrophic. Millions of Syrians have been displaced internally or have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. In Syria alone, 13.5 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid. The SDC is on the frontline to provide coordinated humanitarian aid for the people affected by the crisis.
Swiss involvement on behalf of victims of the Syrian crisis
Since 2011 the SDC has allocated a total of CHF 458 million to help victims of the Syrian crisis.
Swiss humanitarian aid is directed principally to providing urgently needed goods and services, protecting communities and ensuring access to drinking water. Almost half of the funds made available are being used for helping needy people within Syria itself. The other half is devoted to providing aid in neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
In these countries, the capacity to receive refugees has reached its limits. In Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, the authorities are struggling to cover the basic needs not only of refugees but also of their own people. The permanent insecurity prevailing in the region makes any humanitarian operation very complicated and potentially dangerous.
A varied pattern of humanitarian aid
The SDC is funding operations run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), many UN agencies, and national and international NGOs active in Syria and the region as a whole. It is also running projects of its own in Lebanon and Jordan. In education, for example, the SDC has refurbished, or is in the process of refurbishing, almost 140 schools in Jordan and Lebanon, thereby providing over 87,000 children, both refugees and locals, with safer access to schools.
The SDC is also sending technical experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to the region. These experts, specialists in such fields as water and sanitation, security, construction and assistance in the form of monetary transfers, are working for a number of specialised UN agencies (HCR and OCHA, among others).
In parallel with these initiatives, Switzerland is working to ensure international coordination of the response to the humanitarian crisis and is involved in humanitarian diplomacy to improve access to aid for victims.