The ongoing crisis in Syria is escalating and the number of people affected by the crisis is increasing daily. So far, more almost 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict. Cities and towns, including hospitals, schools, and water and sanitation infrastructure have been targeted, while hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. As conditions continue to deteriorate, civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence. From 1 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in April 2012, the number reached 7 million people by August 2013. This includes an estimated 5 million Syrians who are internally displaced. The overall displacement includes an estimated 4 million children.
The Syrian conflict is primarily being fought in urban areas where 57% of the population lived prior to the conflict and this percentage is greatly increased with the massive inflows of Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Most of these urban areas were modern and sophisticated and ‘administered’ by well managed professional local and municipal authorities. The conflict has resulted in the severe weakening and in some cases total breakdown of these systems of local governance and service provision.
UN-Habitat aims to provide technical support to the humanitarian response, in order to understand the complexities of these urban structures and make sure that approaches and solutions offered are relevant, comprehensive, well coordinated and integrated across the urban sector and maximize the potential for positive outcomes through inclusion of the widest range of urban professionals and with the full engagement of local communities.
The regional refugee dimension of the crises is equally daunting and UN-Habitat is developing partnerships for engagement in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Within the context of providing well coordinated, comprehensive and integrated urban response , UN-Habitat has joined with the other Syria emergency agencies to focus on:
The inclusion of UN-Habitat in the humanitarian response will add a broad range of urban expertise and support a wide range of stakeholders with technical support, information and advice on complex urban issues.
- Development of strategic urban response plans
- Support on shelter strategy development
- Shelter and Housing damage assessments
- Shelter Response options
- Basic Services, prioritizing solid waste management and garbage removal
- Neighbourhood based integrated coordination