Since the onset of the Syrian crisis in 2011, the nation has endured a relentless wave of challenges, characterized by hyperinflation, mass displacement, and the added burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the struggle for basic necessities such as hygiene items, healthcare, and clean water became a daily battle for many Syrians. According to the latest Humanitarian Needs Overview for Syria, more than 15 million people across the country have been reliant on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.1
As if this emergency were not precarious enough, a devastating earthquake struck northern Syria and southern Turkey on 6th February, further exacerbating the situation. In response to this crisis, Medair embarked on a mission, backed by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), to deliver crucial healthcare, sanitation, and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) services to approximately 83,000 people across Syria. Now, as of June 2023, this project has successfully concluded, thanks to the unwavering dedication and passion of Medair’s exceptional team.
Healthcare and assistive devices
In Syria, a staggering 28% of the current population – almost twice the global average – bears the burden of disabilities, often with their rights remaining largely unmet.2 In response to this, the project focused on the most vulnerable people with disabilities by distributing assistive devices (ADs). These essential ADs encompass a wide range of items, including wheelchairs equipped with therapeutic pillows, walkers, plastic chairs, and crutches. These play a pivotal role in enhancing the well-being of individuals with disabilities, not only improving their comfort, but in some instances, also preventing physical deterioration and enabling them to regain a significant degree of independence.
Over a span of two months, the health team conducted visits to assess the living conditions of individuals with disabilities, in coordination with the Directorate of Health in Syria. Equipped with a clearer idea of their needs, the team later returned to distribute the ADs.
The impact of this support was profound. After receiving ADs for her daughter, a mother of a 35-year-old with cerebral palsy and physical disabilities expressed her gratitude to the Medair team: “You promised to come back, and you kept your word. My daughter used to crawl if she wanted to reach the kitchen for a glass of water or to wash her hands. Thank you for giving her a chance to experience the world outside this house for the first time.”
In addition to this, the Medair health team conducted educational awareness sessions within the community, around various healthcare and nutrition topics. Topics ranged from the benefits of breastfeeding to the critical significance of vaccinations for children.
The community workers visited 4,341 households, where they tailored health messages to the unique health status of each family member.
Access to safe water
Due to the damage caused to the infrastructure during the Syrian crisis, many water stations bore the brunt of the impact. In regions like Der ez Zor and Hama, the luxury of accessing safe, drinkable water dwindled to a mere once-a-week occurrence, leaving the residents at the mercy of luck.
Recognizing the urgency, Medair’s team embarked on a mission to rehabilitate three critically affected water stations to restore access to safe water for vulnerable communities in need. They supplemented this with the integration of solar solutions to provide a sustainable energy source in the face of escalating electricity outages.
Today, nearly 38,500 people in these regions have regained daily access to safe water.
Awad, a 62-year-old man from Der ez Zor, said: “In the past, we had to buy water every day, which became increasingly expensive week by week. We had to allocate part of the food budget to purchase water. Since the day the station went back to work, our life changed; I’m now able to buy enough food for my children. All the residents here appreciate your work and support.”
Many thanks to our teams for their unwavering support and unyielding dedication in making this program a tremendous success.