Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP.
"Thanks to our disaster fund, we can now respond immediately. This is an unimaginable tragedy, and it is urgent to reach out with help. NCA has worked in Syria since 2012, mainly with water, sanitation and hygiene and gender-based violence", says our Secretary General.
Reports from our colleagues in Syria tell of enormous destruction and a need for help. NCA is working in two of the cities that are among those that are hit the hardest, Aleppo and Latakia. These are cities with many internally displaced people after the war.
"The poor and vulnerable are the ones who are always affected in such situations, and there are many of them in this region. What we can say now is that this is a major natural disaster. It has affected very densely populated areas", says Dagfinn Høybråten. We are now working to get an overview of the destruction and see how we can quickly reach out to people who are affected.
"Syria is already facing several major crises, and the earthquake has now affected a population that is already living in very difficult conditions. There is cholera in the country, there is enormous poverty, hunger, and economic collapse. It is more important than ever that we are present for people in Syria", Høybråten continues.
"From what is beeing described to us, people need protection in form of housing, tents, and blankets. We can contribute with immediate emergency items, water, and sanitary solutions. We are now in contact with staff and local partners on the ground who are quickly assessing the needs", concludes Høybråten.
As a result of the conflict in Syria, around 11.7 million people are in need humanitarian aid, and a further 13.3 million people (including 5.5 million children) need help for protection. About 6.2 million people are still displaced within the country's borders, and 5.6 million are refugees in neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.