More than 12 years after the start of the Syria crisis, half the population is displaced, both inside and outside the country. Humanitarian needs in Syria are now at an all-time high.
7 in 10 Syrians require humanitarian assistance. They have been confronted with the impact of conflict, displacement, a pandemic, epidemics, and a devastating earthquake.
As the leading donor of humanitarian aid to Syrians, the EU and its Member States have provided sustained humanitarian funding since the start of the conflict.
What are the needs?
Even before the devastating earthquakes of February 2023, the humanitarian needs in Syria were already unprecedented.
The number of people in need has steadily increased since 2012, reaching 15.3 million people in 2023. There has been a significant 40% rise in the number of people requiring assistance over the past 3 years.
Without a political solution, humanitarian needs will undoubtedly continue to rise further.
According to the 2023 humanitarian needs overview:
- 85% of households cannot meet their basic needs
- more than half the population lacks a stable source of water
- more than 12 million people face food shortages.
Moreover, less than 60% of health facilities are fully functional and more than 2 million children remain out of school.
The crisis and conflict have resulted in mass displacement, widespread poverty and destruction, economic recession, and the spread of preventable diseases.
The parts of Syria that were most affected by the earthquakes are also the areas with significant humanitarian needs, particularly in non-government-controlled areas in Northwest Syria. The majority of the over 4 million people in need in Northwest Syria were affected by the earthquakes.
There are currently close to 5.2 million registered Syrian refugees in the region, mostly in Türkiye, Lebanon, and Jordan.
How are we helping?
Despite many challenges, the EU has continued to provide impartial humanitarian aid to those in need across Syria since 2011. The EU, along with its Member States, is the largest donor to the Syria crisis.
Over the past 12 years, the EU has mobilised more than €30 billion in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance. It has supported Syrians both inside the country and across the region.
This includes more than €3.7 billion in humanitarian aid to Syrians and vulnerable host communities inside Syria and the region, including close to €1.4 billion for Syria alone. Since 2017, the EU also organises a yearly Brussels conference to support the future of Syria and the region to encourage pledges.
Latest EU humanitarian assistance
In 2023, the European Commission allocated €186.5 million in humanitarian aid to assist millions of people inside Syria.
This past year, the EU has regularly topped up its humanitarian funding to respond to emergencies. This includes the February 2023 earthquakes; water, sanitation, and hygiene; health needs; and the rising food insecurity most recently.
In response to the earthquakes, humanitarian partners on the ground:
- conducted search and rescue operations
- provided tents, blankets, hygiene, cooking and other essential household items to the homeless
- supplied health facilities with medicines.
The EU also sent supplies from the European Humanitarian Response Capacity warehouses in Brindisi and Dubai. The aim was to support the aid efforts throughout the country.
In addition to humanitarian aid, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated 2 days after the 6 February earthquake. Relief from 16 European countries was trucked in via Lebanon and Türkiye to government and non-government controlled areas.
EU humanitarian aid in Syria focuses on addressing critical needs. It also promotes sustainable life-saving assistance or early recovery by improving access to basic services for an increasingly deprived population.
The assistance is channelled through our humanitarian partners. They provide the most vulnerable with health care, food assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene services, protection, shelter, education and livelihoods support.
The EU closely cooperates with all its humanitarian partners across the country: NGOs, UN agencies and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. They adhere to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
The EU has repeatedly called for the respect of international humanitarian law. It continuously urges parties to the conflict to allow unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to people in need.
Last updated: 24/11/2023
Facts & figures
15.3 million people in need in 2023
More than 6.8 million internally displaced
Close to 5.2 million registered Syrian refugees in the region, including:
- Over 3.2 million in Türkiye
- Close to 790,000 in Lebanon
- Over 650,000 in Jordan
(Source: UNHCR - October 2023)
EU humanitarian funding inside Syria:
€186.5 million in 2023
Total assistance by the EU and its Member States to the Syria crisis:
more than €30 billion since 2011