In regions Syria and MENA and in groups Syria and Whole of Syria

North-West Syria Hub


2023-12 Factsheet - North-West Syria Hub

< Mar 2023
December 2023
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Mercy USA - Organization


Humanitarian Situation Overview:

After more than 12 years of conflict, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in north-west Syria due to ongoing hostilities, a worsening economic crisis, and the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in February 2023. Approximately 4.1 million people require critical lifesaving assistance, including around 2.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). There are still 1.9 million IDPs residing in emergency sites, with approximately 80% of them being women and children who are particularly vulnerable to various risks, including gender-based violence.

Approximately 2.1 million people in need of shelter assistance, and over 800,000 people living in tents and makeshift shelters (78% of which are more than 1 year old), the severe winter months pose a significant humanitarian challenge in north-west Syria. The majority of people reside in old tents in IDP sites that lack proper sewage, drainage, electricity, and water supply. Among the camp population, 80% are women and children who have experienced multiple displacements over several years and face safety, security, and protection risks due to the temporary and undignified nature of their shelter and settlement conditions. High rates of gender-based violence, along with the impact of poor living conditions on children, are compounded by the effects of climate change and natural disasters that make traditional approaches to shelter less effective.

The major earthquakes that struck southeast Türkiye and north Syria on February 6, 2023, resulted in thousands of casualties and widespread destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructure in both countries. The earthquakes uprooted hundreds of thousands of families, causing nearly 5,900 deaths and more than 12,800 injuries in Syria. The infrastructures, already weakened by the conflict, were severely damaged. Many families lost their main breadwinner due to death or injury, further exacerbating the vulnerability of millions of people who were already struggling to meet their basic needs.

Ongoing conflict and military operations, including artillery shelling and airstrikes, continue to impede humanitarian access. This affects the ability of humanitarian partners to reach those in need and the affected populations' ability to access basic services and humanitarian assistance. In October 2023, northwest Syria experienced the most significant escalation of hostilities since 2019, resulting in the displacement of over 120,000 people.

Rapidly changing weather conditions further endanger lives and health, particularly for children, older persons, and people with pre-existing vulnerabilities. Intense rainfall and windstorms during February and March caused additional damage to earthquake-affected areas and IDP sites hosting displaced families. The risk of future weather-related incidents remains high. The long, extremely cold, and unpredictable winters in north-west Syria result in acute suffering for 2 million individuals who lack adequate shelter. During winter, there is an increase in respiratory infection outbreaks, leading to a rise in hospitalizations, morbidity, and mortality. The absence of warm clothing, insulation, and heating further increases the risk of respiratory infections, hypothermia, and preventable deaths among children and the elderly.




One of the top priorities for the Shelter/NFI Cluster during the fourth quarter was to continue coordinating the winterization response. The long, extremely cold, and unpredictable winters in NW Syria cause acute suffering for 2.1 million people in need of winter assistance. In recent years, there has been an increase in extreme weather conditions, such as sub-zero temperatures, heavy snowfall, and widespread flooding. While there are some members has been reported a cut in the winterization fund in this season. As a result, the needs of vulnerable people living in dire conditions have also increased. Recent data shows that 70% is the funding gap for this season and a bout 1,2 M vulnerable individuals will not be reached due to this gap. Additionally, close to 1/3 of the IDP population in camps resort to harmful coping mechanisms during winter, such as burning old clothes and waste materials for heating. Winterization needs are urgent and must be addressed every winter.

As of December 2023, 20,376 households (101,882 individuals) have received essential NFIs, and 92,466 households (462,328 individuals) have received Seasonal NFIs, including heating fuel support (winterization response is tracked from Oct 2023 – Mar 2024). Cluster members have secured around US$ 30 million out of the US$ 102 million needed to support people in need with the minimum level of survival support. This winter season, approximately 80% of the planned winter response was implemented through cash and voucher modalities, which is a significant increase compared to previous winters. About 70% of the targeted individuals live in IDP sites. The Cluster has also shared a winter advocacy note and continued to engage in discussions with donors regarding the high needs versus available resources.

Earthquake Response in NWS

In northwest Syria, the S/NFI cluster partners have provided shelter rehabilitation support to a total of 82,889 individuals since the earthquake. This support includes minor repairs for 7,252 families and repairs for moderate damages for 8,102 families. For families whose houses were severely damaged or destroyed, some of them have been included in ongoing dignified shelter projects by the humanitarian community. However, it is important to note that the humanitarian scope does not cover the rebuilding of demolished or severely damaged buildings. One major challenge is the insufficient funding, which is preventing the timely delivery of Dignified Shelter solutions to the affected households. Additionally, there are still some families with minor to moderate damage who have not yet received complete assistance. This emphasizes the pressing need for fundraising efforts to support these households that are still in need of assistance.

Dignified shelter and living conditions.

In July 2023, the cluster developed and published the Action Plan for Dignified shelter & living Conditions in Northwest Syria . This plan outlines the steps to transition internally displaced persons (IDPs) from tents to more dignified shelters that are better suited for long-term displacement. The Shelter/NFI Cluster has made this a top priority for 2023 and continues its efforts and advocacy for dignified shelter and living conditions.

The approach to dignified shelter and living conditions promotes a more multi-sectoral response, including planning, implementation, and monitoring. It also emphasizes investments in more dignified site infrastructure, increased stakeholder engagement, and reduced reliance on emergency services. Dignified shelter is a crucial aspect of providing dignified living conditions, which aims to improve the lives and protect vulnerable populations, especially considering that 80% of people living in IDP sites are women and children.

Since March 2022, 29 cluster members have been able to provide dignified shelter to over 31,000 families in 156 (registered and unregistered) IDP sites. Another 6,743 families living in old tents across 38 IDP sites are currently targeted by ongoing projects of 16 cluster members. The action plan aims to support 81,520 families for the first four phases living in tents in sites with valid housing, land, and property (HLP) documentation, while advocating for HLP solutions for the remaining 100,000 families living in tents in sites without valid/pending HLP or missing information.

Following a review workshop in July 2023, where the dignified shelter approach in north-west Syria was discussed, the cluster decided to update its guidance and direction based on best practices. This includes updating five key areas: beneficiary and site selection criteria, site planning, technical guidance, coordination, and inter-cluster collaboration, environment, and greening our response. More information can be found here.

Response Overview

SNFI Cluster members are actively responding to the needs of the newly displaced population, as well as protracted IDPs in NW Syria. In the last quarter of 2023, a total of 192,481 individuals received core non-food item (NFI) assistance. This assistance included NFI kits, kitchen sets, mattresses, jerry cans, carpets, solar lamps, tarpaulin, and blankets. Additionally, 462,328 people benefitted from seasonal/supplementary NFI distributions.

During the same period, shelter assistance was provided to approximately 208,224 people. It is important to note that some IDP sites and individuals received multiple SNFI activities. Of the shelter support provided, 29% was allocated to infrastructure improvement in IDP sites, 42% to emergency shelter provision, 11% to transitional shelter installation, 14% to shelter rehabilitation and 4% for installation of HH level solar energy systems.