A record number of people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance more than a decade into a devastating civil war, the United Nations said.
At least 14.6 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian aid, up from 13.4 million last year, the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said in a report published late on Wednesday.
“Suffering in Syria is at its highest level since the crisis began,” said the UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria conflict, Mark Cutts.
“The UN and its partners are reaching seven million people every month, but more support is required,” he said in a post on Twitter.
The war in Syria is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions more since it began with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011.
The country is also grappling with an economic crisis compounded by Western sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and a sharp fall in the value of the local currency.
Over three quarters of households are unable to meet their most basic needs, an increase of 10 percent from last year, OCHA said.
Syria’s internally displaced population makes up 37 percent of the people requiring humanitarian assistance, the report indicates.
People who have never been displaced or who returned to their place of origin before January 2021, are also increasingly unable to meet basic needs, OCHA expressed, calling it an “indication” of the growing scale of the crisis.
In 2021, 9.2 million vulnerable residents were estimated to be in need, according to OCHA.
“This represents a 44 percent increase… which likely highlights the significant impact economic deterioration has had on segments of the population historically less directly affected by hostilities and displacement.”
The United Nations warned that “many families have negative ways of adapting, including child labor, child marriage and the sale of productive assets”.