Syrian Refugee Crisis

For many Syrian refugee children, all they have known is war and hardship. Eight years on, their lives continue to be torn apart.

Syria’s children are growing up in the midst of the most significant humanitarian crisis in living memory. We urgently need your help to protect their lives, their childhoods and their futures.

Important, life-giving work that must continue

Important, life-giving work that must continue
Children have lost their homes, loved-ones and everything familiar to them. For their parents, fleeing Syria was the toughest decision they’ve ever had to make. But bombs, snipers and torture made it too dangerous to stay. They escaped the war to protect their families, but life is now a daily struggle for survival.

We are there, alongside these families, providing life-saving essentials like clean water, food, healthcare and shelter right now.  This is important, life-giving work that must continue, but today it’s under threat. 

After years of war in Syria, the world’s attention is drifting, and donations for our work here are reducing dramatically. Your support is more important than ever.​

They have fled their homes, escaped a deadly war, and just faced the coldest winter in years under the most unforgiving conditions.
The children of Syria desperately need your support!

15th March 2019, marked the eighth anniversary of the Syrian conflict. Newshub anchor Samantha Hayes travelled to Lebanon and Jordan with World Vision New Zealand's National Director, Grant Bayldon to see the devastating impact eight years of war has on Syrian refugee children and their families.

Samantha saw first hand World Vision's work in action, meeting with children who have all but forgotten what life is like in their homeland. 

"The children I met at Za'atari refugee camp made me smile - they're just like Kiwi kids - but after watching them play and laugh they told me their stories, and what they said was heartbreaking. Seven year old Mohammed has lived in the refugee camp for five years. He speaks carefully, telling me one day he wants to be an engineer. His expression was so sad when he told me why he and his family had to leave Syria. "Because there are a lot of bombs there, if they stay there they will die" he said."
 

The scale and complexity of the Syrian conflict can seem overwhelming. But, beyond the challenging context, there is a simple truth; children are in desperate need and we can help.

Eight years since the start of Syria’s devastating war, the tragedy continues to grow, and millions of children who have fled the conflict are still living in desperate situations. They live as refugees, across Lebanon and Jordan, with no place to call home, no stability, and without basic things like water, shelter, and security.

refugees have crossed international borders and remain in neighbouring countries, another 6.2M are displaced within Syria.
Syrian refugees make up about one-sixth of Lebanon’s population. Many living in primitive conditions in informal tent settlements.
of children in Syria are out of school, and 80% of the population lives in poverty.

FAQs

No. In Jordan, the overwhelming majority of refugees live in host communities, staying with other families or rental accommodation. There are approximately 670,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, 120,000 live in refugee camps, including Za’atari and Azraq, where aid groups have converted desert wastes into cities.

In Lebanon, there are no official refugee camps. The 950,000 Syrian refugees make up about one-sixth of Lebanon’s population. Many live in primitive conditions in informal tent settlements, which are not official refugee camps. With few legal income opportunities, they struggle to afford residency fees, rent, utilities, and food.

There are 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. Approximately 90% of Syrian refugees in Turkey live outside of camps and have limited access to basic services.

The 250,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq are concentrated in the Kurdistan region in the north where more than a million Iraqis fled to escape ISIL. Most refugees are integrated into communities but the large number of newcomers puts a strain on services.
In Lebanon, there are no official refugee camps, though there are scattered camp-like informal settlements. This makes emergency response difficult and many refugees are falling through the cracks. These settlements generally lack proper hygiene and other measures needed to protect the health of the most vulnerable, including children. Children cannot rely on the usual protection mechanisms and are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Winter conditions present extra challenges for already vulnerable children and families. 

The most populace refugee camp in Jordan is Za’atari, close to the northern border with Syria. It is home to around 80,000 people. The camp is hot and dusty in summer and cold in winter, it is no place for children, despite the best efforts of authorities, the UN and humanitarian agencies. Some children are not in school and wander around refugee camps during the day and night, which leaves them very vulnerable. 

Diseases and malnutrition: Children are susceptible to ailments brought on by poor sanitation, including diarrheal diseases like cholera. They may miss vaccinations and regular health checkups, especially in cut-off areas. In poor housing, cold weather increases the risk of pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

Child labor and child soldiers: Many refugee children have to work to support their families. Often they work in dangerous or demeaning circumstances for little pay. Warring parties forcibly recruit children who serve as fighters, human shields, and in support roles, according to the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report.

Child marriage and abuse: Children are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in the unfamiliar and overcrowded conditions found in camps and informal tent settlements. Without adequate income to support their families and fearful of their daughters being molested, parents may opt to arrange a marriage for girls, some as young as 13.

Lack of education opportunities: Forty percent of Syrian refugee children are out of school. In Syria, the war reversed two decades of educational progress. One-third of schools are not having classes because they have been damaged, destroyed, or occupied by military groups or displaced people.
In 2018, our Syria Crisis Response team contributed to the well-being of over 2.2 million people, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. Just over 1.3 million of these were children.

Lebanon: World Vision’s response has helped 202,600 people, through running informal education to help children re-enter school, providing water, sanitation and hygiene in schools, creating child friendly spaces, and providing cash and food assistance to refugees.

Jordan: Some 188,316 people in Jordan have been able to settle into their changed lives, with a strong emphasis on child protection, schools, household financial support, and education opportunities.  We have also been providing water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in camps, and alternative learning and psychosocial support for children of all backgrounds. 

Syria: Over 852,000 people have been supported through sustainable water and sanitation solutions, psychosocial support for children, household and winter items, a new school and filling gaps in fractured health-care. 

Turkey: World Vision helped 47,000 with protection across the border and non-formal education.

Iraq: Over 937,000 people in Iraq were supported with access health, water, hygiene, learning opportunities, with an emphasis on safe and food-secure living conditions.
Violence: Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, an estimated 500,000 people have been killed, including more than 55,000 children according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  

Collapsed infrastructure: Within Syria, healthcare, education systems, and other infrastructure have been destroyed; 95% of people lack adequate healthcare, 70% lack regular access to clean water and half the children are out of school. The economy is shattered with 80% of the population living in poverty.  

Children’s safety: Syrian children — the nation’s hope for a better future — have lost loved ones, suffered injuries, missed years of schooling, and witnessed unspeakable violence and brutality. 
Eight years into the crisis, the increased strain on services in the region of hosting the extraordinary high number of refugees has led to worsening living conditions for Syrian refugees and hosting communities alike. Access to health and education services, or basic needs such as food and water, has continued to decline as refugees run out of savings to support themselves and funding requirements run short.

This deterioration of conditions inside Syria and in neighbouring countries resulted in 2015 seeing the highest numbers of Syrian refugees undertaking risky journeys towards Europe in the hope of a better future. At the peak of the European migrant crisis in 2015, 1.3 million Syrians requested asylum in Europe. 

We’re doing whatever it takes to save lives and protect children. But we need your help to reach more. You can be there for children whose lives have been shattered by conflict.

The children of Syria desperately need your support, our important, life-giving work must continue