As the Syria conflict marks its 3rd anniversary, Handicap International continues to support the most vulnerable Syrians: the injured and the disabled, the displaced and refugees.
Handicap International condemns the obstacles to delivering humanitarian assistance in Syria, and highlights the painful injuries and disabilities inflicted on Syrians.
Inside Syria, the United Nations counts 9.3 million people in need. Among them, an estimated 570,000 are injured. The collapse of Syria’s healthcare system has significantly increased the vulnerability of people with injuries and disabilities and older people, who find it increasingly difficult to access vital medical services.
This situation will have a serious and lasting impact on people with injuries, who risk developing permanent disabilities. In January 2014, Handicap International published a survey of displaced people in Syria who had been injured in the conflict. Sixty percent of the injured people interviewed were victims of explosive ordnance and had suffered serious physical harm. Twenty-five percent were amputees. A total of 88.5% said they did not have satisfactory access to rehabilitation care.
On Feb. 22, 2014, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding that all parties to the conflict allow humanitarian access to Syrian civilians. This important resolution must be translated into action. Inside Syria, the violent and unrelenting nature of the conflict is making it extremely difficult for humanitarian organizations to conduct their operations.
The physical, psychological and economic consequences of the conflict are worsening by the day. “Restrictions on access to humanitarian assistance are a violation of international humanitarian law and are having a serious impact on people with injuries and vulnerable individuals,” says Florence Daunis, Handicap International’s Deputy Executive Director in charge of Operations. “They will also have serious consequences for the country in the future, and a generation of people will need medical and social services for life, as a result of this conflict.”
“Thirty-two years of action, often in situations of conflict and disaster, show us that it will take decades for Syria to recover from this conflict,” explains Elizabeth MacNairn, Executive Director of Handicap International U.S. “Once this conflict ends, the Syrian people will need to rebuild their shattered lives, a process which will require sustained support and significant investment from the Syrians themselves along with the international community.”