The number of internally displaced persons has alarmingly spiked making it impossible for local organizations and committees to cover their needs. The number has risen from 3.5 million according to the latest statistic by the Syrian Network for Human Rights issued in early October 2012 to reach around 4.8 million by early December 2012. The bulk of IDPs in the past month came from Aleppo due to the increase in random bombardment by Meg warplanes using explosive barrels. According to SNHR member in Aleppo, the occupancy rate dropped to as low as 4% in some neighbourhoods as most of the residents fled their homes in fear for their lives and the lives of their families. In Homs, on the other hand, many neighbourhoods remain completely deserted such as al-Qusour neighbourhood which has been almost completely destroyed.
The distribution of IDPs from Syrian governorates according to the latest survey is as follows:
Aleppo: 1.6 million
Homs: 950 thousand
Damascus: 775 thousand
Deir Ezzour: 380 thousand
Lattakia: 300 thousand
Hama: 225 thousand
Dara’a: 200 thousand
Idleb: 180 thousand
The total number of IDPs from the above governorates has exceeded 4 million while the total number of IDPs from the other governorates such as Rakka, Quneitra, Hassakeh and Tartous is around 200 thousand.
The governorate of Rakka hosts the largest number of IDPs totalling no less than 1.4 million IDPs mostly from Aleppo and Idleb. Damascus comes second in terms of the number of IDPs it hosts which reached no less than 700 thousand mostly from Eastern Ghouta, particularly Douma. Hama, on the other hand, hosts no less than 600 thousand IDPs mostly from Homs, Rastan and Talbeeseh as well as Homs’s destroyed neighbourhoods such as Baba Amr, Insha’at and Qusour. The governorate of Suweida hosts no less than 300 thousand IDPs mostly from Dara’a but also from Western Ghouta in Damascus Suburbs.
Displaced people suffer extremely dire living conditions. According to dozens of Skype and telephone interviews with IDPs, many expressed anger at the negligence of the Arab World and the international community especially that most of them lost their homes which have been almost completely destroyed while many other have lost their jobs or businesses becoming dependent on others for subsistence. Further, hundreds of families have lost their breadwinner who have been killed or arrested by the Syrian government losing their only source of income. Such families have to face the threat of death not only by shelling and bombardment but also hunger and dire weather.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights has made those estimate based on the work of its members available in all Syrian cities and a survey which remains approximate as the Syrian government continues to ban SNHR from working on its territory despite repeated applications. SNHR estimates the number of afflicted displaced families (i.e. those in need of direct relief) to be 1 million and 90 thousand families, i.e. around 25% of the total number of IDPs.
Those are distributed as follows:
Homs: 185 thousand families
Damascus: 160 thousand families
Idleb: 135 thousand families
Aleppo: 118 thousand families
Daraa: 100 thousand families
Deir Ezzour: 97 thousand families
Hama: 80 thousand families
Lattakia: 65 thousand families
The remaining governorates including Rakka, Hassakeh , Tartous and Suwieda have around 150 thousand afflicted families.
Warning and Call of Distress:
Based on all the above and as the UN suspended all its relief operations which were already inadequate hardly covering 25% of the afflicted families while the Syrian government prevents international relief agencies from working on its territories, and as winter time arrives in the region causing dire weather particularly in the northern areas and in Homs, SNHR hereby issues a distress call as thousands of Syrian families face the threat of disease, hunger, cold and even death due to such conditions. The Syrian government holds the prime responsibility for this situation but the international community and international humanitarian agencies share the responsibility as it is impossible for local agencies to shoulder this huge burden which requires urgent relief efforts on the international level.
Syrian Refugees More than 0.5 Million
The total number of Syrian refugees seeking refuge outside Syrian territories according to the latest SNHR statistic has reached 790 thousand refugees most of whom are not registered with the UNHCR, hence they are not included in its statistics. Those refrain from official registration mostly because many of them are not legal residents as they used unofficial access points in fear they wouldn’t be given access otherwise. Others were hosted by relatives and family members but are considered refugees according to the international definition. More than half the Syrian refugees sought refuge in Jordan. The distribution of refugees on neighbouring countries is as follows:
Jordan: 340 thousand
Turkey: 17 thousand
Lebanon: 135 thousand
Iraq: 80 thousand
Egypt: 65 thousand
Those refugees can be reached by international relief agencies. Yet, there is significant failure to fulfil their humanitarian needs particularly in Jordan and Lebanon as the governments are too poor to meet the refugees’ requirements. This is the duty and responsibility of international relief agencies particularly at this dire season and cold winter which requires immediate and urgent intervention.
Syrian Network for Human Rights – London