Humanitarian disaster in Idlib the worst it’s ever been

27 Feb 2020 by Gabriel Thomas, News Media Advisor
Humanitarian disaster in Idlib the worst it’s ever been

Conditions in Idlib, in the north west of Syria, are the worst they have been in nine years of the country’s civil war, according to World Vision staff in the region.

Almost a million people have been forced from their homes in just two months, due to continued fighting in Idlib. And there’s been an increase in attacks on civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. On February 25th, 10 schools and the Idlib Central Hospital were hit by airstrikes.

At the same time displaced people – many of whom are living out in the open, with no shelter – are facing a bitterly cold winter. At least seven children have died from the cold in the past month. 

Aid agencies are calling for an urgent ceasefire to allow aid to reach the vulnerable and prevent further needless deaths.

Aid workers are working around the clock to provide emergency support, but with tens of thousands of people arriving every day, supplies are low, and the humanitarian response is stretched.

Ahlam*, a Protection Advisor for World Vision in Idlib, says: “It is about -7 degrees Celsius here, families and children are freezing without a roof over their heads. Everyone here is begging for tents or housing to seek shelter from the cold. There are 20 children living in a basement warehouse with no windows or ventilation. They have been displaced for three days and they are sick with no blankets or mattresses to sleep on.”

World Vision and our Syrian partners are distributing emergency kits which include blankets and mattresses, kitchen items and hygiene products. We have already delivered more than 3,000 winter assistance packages, and we’re providing water storage, water trucking and latrines. Nevertheless, the situation in Idlib is desperate and unsustainable. At least 6,500 children are being forced to flee their homes every day – others are dying under bombardment or in freezing tents.

The international community cannot turn a blind eye to this worsening crisis and must take immediate action to secure a ceasefire and ensure aid access to the affected population.

Gabriel Thomas, News Media Advisor, World Vision New Zealand  |  ‚Äč+64 21 360 098