Syria: Six years of conflict

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Wednesday, March 15, marks the sixth anniversary of the Syrian crisis. Handicap International has been providing assistance to the Syrian people since just after the start of the war, and began carrying out activities within the country four years ago. Currently, our 500-plus staff works across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

The numbers are frightening and the needs are massive.

  • 300,000-plus Syrians have died and one million have been injured
  • 4.8 million people have fled Syria
  • 6.6 million have been internally displaced
  • 13.5 million people currently need humanitarian assistance in Syria

Since January 2013, Handicap International has been providing injured people with adapted rehabilitation services such as physical therapy. Our teams are also measuring individuals for prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces, and distributing mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and canes.

Handicap International runs psychological support activities. “People who are still in Syria have lived through more than five years of war, a highly traumatic experience,” explains Mélanie Broquet, who monitors and coordinates Handicap International’s programs in Syria.

“These people need to be able to talk about their experiences if they feel the need. They should not be left to face their pain on their own. Their psychological well-being is just as important as their physical health in circumstances like these.”

Protecting people from explosive remnants of war

Syrians need to be made aware of the dangers so they can protect themselves from harm. In addition to providing care and treatment for people’s visible and invisible wounds, Handicap International also organizes risk education sessions so civilians know how to spot, avoid, and report the landmines, cluster bombs, and other explosive devices that can torment communities for decades after conflict.

Our goal is to educate as many Syrians as possible. Since 2013, more than 400,000 Syrians have benefited from our risk education sessions. 

Expanding our humanitarian assistance

Handicap International and its local partners distribute food and essential equipment such as blankets, mattresses, and cooking utensils to those severely affected by the conflict. To ensure no one is left out of this emergency response, our teams implement inclusion activities by providing training and support to other humanitarian actors. The goal is to ensure that all vulnerable people–pregnant women, people with disabilities, older people–are not excluded from the relief effort.

As part of its humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, Handicap International has also developed similar activities for refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

Handicap International and the Syrian crisis

More than 900,000 people have benefited from Handicap International’s actions since launching operations in 2012. The organization provides physical rehabilitation services and psychological support, and distributes emergency aid to meet the basic needs of people with injuries, people with disabilities and particularly vulnerable individuals. To prevent injuries and death, Handicap International also issues awareness-raising and safety messages targeting local populations living amid explosive remnants of war. Learn more about our work in Syria and read our February 2017 Syrian/Iraqi situation report.