Humanitarian crisis worsens as Syria marks 13th anniversary of civil war-Xinhua

Humanitarian crisis worsens as Syria marks 13th anniversary of civil war

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-16 19:58:15

People shop for Maarouk sweets, delicate treats specifically made for Ramadan, in Damascus, Syria, on March 13, 2024. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)

by Hummam Sheikh Ali

DAMASCUS, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Hadia Kamel Kurdi, a mother of five from Aleppo City in northern Syria, is deeply troubled by the dire situation confronting her family. Most of the time, they have nothing to eat, and when they do, it's often just olives, thyme, or boiled potatoes.

"Everything is scary for us. The situation will only get worse," Kurdi said. "Now, we live on the meals sent by the orphanage association every two days."

As Friday marks the 13th anniversary of the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, Syrians face a harsh reality that few could anticipate years ago. A recent report by the United Nations (UN) said that 16.7 million people inside the country are projected to require humanitarian assistance this year, the highest number of people in need since 2011.

According to the humanitarian needs overview released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to cover the month of February, the staggering number, which makes up roughly 75 percent of the Syrian population, is due to the ongoing conflict, widespread displacement, inadequate services and infrastructure, and economic collapse.

Hadia Kamel Kurdi, a mother of five, sits with her children in the living room of their house in Aleppo, Syria, Jan. 24, 2024. (Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

Mohammed Ibrahim Hindawi, a disabled man in Aleppo, said most of the time he had nothing to eat.

"We have nothing. You can come into our house, but you will not find anything at all. I'm constantly worried about whether I can get food for myself or my kids," he said. "Yesterday, we couldn't find anything to eat."

The economic crisis has forced him to adopt survival tactics, leading him to prevent his children from attending school and instead engage in work to earn money for the family.

Spiraling prices, coupled with a depreciating currency, have rendered the cost of living unattainable for many. The economic fallout, experts warned, is not transient but rather persistent, with repercussions expected to reverberate for years to come.

A man sells sweets for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr at a market in Damascus, Syria, on April 26, 2022. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)

Experts highlight that the enduring aftermath of the war, compounded by external pressures such as economic sanctions, contribute significantly to Syria's economic woes.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Hayam Ali, a Damascus-based economist, underscored the destructive consequences of unilateral sanctions, which severely undermine food security and livelihoods.

"The impact of U.S. sanctions has exacerbated poverty, heightened demand, and reduced production, resulting in tangible hardships for Syrians, such as a decline in food security that affects most people," she said.

The sanctions also have adverse effects on younger generations, with recent statistics showing that Syrian children are increasingly at risk of malnutrition and undernourishment due to the sanctions, Ali noted.

The economist emphasized the need for urgent actions both at home and abroad, noting that while external aid remains crucial, concerted efforts to bolster the agricultural sector and enact targeted economic policies are also indispensable, despite that the road to recovery is arduous. 


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