Humanitarian disaster in Syria

Since the conflict broke out in 2011, almost 5 million Syrian have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt, along with to Iraq and North-Africa. Some 6.5 million Syrian are internally displaced,as many as 4.5 million in besieged areas.


Norwegian Church Aid in Syria

Presence established: 2012
Funds used in 2015: 21.8 million NOK


In 2016 231,742 people got acces to a safe water supply.

Syria Emergency Response

In Bar Elias refugee camp, Norwegian Church Aid supplies water and sanitation facilities together with food items. Phpoto: Margrethe Volden / Norwegian Church AidIn Bar Elias refugee camp, Norwegian Church Aid supplies water and sanitation facilities together with food items. Photo: Margrethe Volden / Norwegian Church Aid

The mass exodus of Syrians, precipitated by the onslaught of conflict in Syria, has further fueled the international refugee crisis with more displaced people now than at the end of World War II. Majority of the displaced Syrians, have sought refuge in the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. Host governments and communities, with limited funds and poor infrastructure, are not able to provide sustainable and life-saving humanitarian assistance. NCA’s Syria humanitarian response has provided life-saving assistance to displaced Syrians that are ethno-religiously diverse, grappling with multiple deprivations. Our humanitarian response provides relief through WASH, Education, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) mitigation and psychosocial services, Non-food and Food Items, Health and Nutrition, and Minority Protection.

Norwegian Church Aid is committed to preserving the dignity of displaced Syrians in North Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon. The multi-sectorial approach of addressing the needs of displaced Syrians was appropriate given their staggering needs. Our programmes had contextually relevant conflict and gender-sensitive design, while adhering to international law and humanitarian principles. All programmes had integrated protection measures for the most vulnerable, i.e. women, children, and the disabled and elderly. The central focus remained on the provision of life-saving emergency relief in an impartial manner and on Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development (LRRD) principles. Whereas, the broader scope involved conflict mitigation in target areas, and capacity building of the beneficiaries and public authorities. Coordination with relevant authorities and empowerment of beneficiaries had a positive impact on sustainability of our programmes.

Beneficiaries reached in Syria:

  1. 49,348 beneficiaries in IDPs camps and self-settlements received water by trucks
  2. 21,031 beneficiaries had access to adequate sanitation facilities.
  3. 700 garbage containers distributed around the camps
  4. 2,488 Hygiene kits distributed in the first round, whereas an additional 5,048 kits were distributed in the second round.
  5. 303 interactive sessions, targeting 5,408 beneficiaries, were conducted in IDPs camps to prevent spread of water borne diseases through better hygiene and awareness of protection measures related to the use of WASH services.

Kirkens Nødhjelp støtter hygieneundervisning på en skole i Aleppo.Norwegian Church Aid supports hygiene education amongst children and youth in Syria. Here from a school in Aleppo where the students learn why handwashing is important. Photo: GOPA

Syrian Humanitarian Response in Jordan and Lebanon

Both Jordan and Lebanon have seen a high influx of refugees, constituting nearly 20% of existing population in Jordan, and almost 50% in Lebanon. Consequently, there is an immense burden on already dilapidated resources and infrastructure, fomenting tensions between refugees and host communities. The multi-sectorial approach of delivering urgent humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrians in Jordan and Lebanon served as a potential conflict mitigation strategy to reduce tension between Syrians and host communities.

We delivered critical humanitarian assistance by distributing Food and Non-Food items to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Apart from service delivery, we strengthened the humanitarian response through education, capacity building, and health services. Our tailored interventions built the resilience of Syrian refugees and empowered them to pursue sustainable avenues for economic opportunities. Women, children and youth remained a particular focus in our empowerment campaigns.

Results achieved in Jordan

  1. 14,946 displaced Syrian families received Food and Non-food items in Jordan.
  2. Health awareness sessions led to 2,199 medical referrals.

Capacity building workshops trained beneficiaries on psychosocial support in particular for sexual gender-based violence, civic education, Mother Support Groups targeting refugee mothers, Start-your-business (SYB) training, establishing safe-spaces for children, and promoting awareness of girls education.

Results achieved in Lebanon:

  1. 500 Vouchers for Food and 500 for Hygiene kits were distributed amongst vulnerable displaced Syrian families to improve their well-being and living conditions.
  2. 40 families benefited from shelter facilities
  3. 607 students were able to continue their education following Syrian curriculum. 108 students benefited from the tutoring program, whereas 50 refugees from the camps earned income as teachers and supervisors. Education services, coupled with psychosocial support (PSS) minimised the impact of conflict and trauma on the students and built their resilience. 60% of the students registered in our education programmes participated in PSS services.

Syrian school children in Damaskus are learning about good hygiene through games and playing. Photo: GOPA.

Humanitarian Assistance to Syrian Refugees, IDPs and returnees in North Iraq

In recent months, North Iraq has witnessed an increased inflow of Syrian refugees, and displaced Iraqis from Mosul fleeing the military operation against ISIS. Based on our longstanding relation with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), we were able to widen the scope of WASH programme in North Iraq, being KRG’s preferred partner for emergency response. We delivered comprehensive emergency WASH services to 6 IDP/refugee camps, i.e. Kabarto 1&2, Qadiya, and Mamrashan where we reached 48,084 beneficiaries and another 17,684 in Nargizlia 1&2. These beneficiaries have now access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation facilities meeting SPHERE standards, and awareness on positive hygiene practices. Other results include the following:

  1. 10,000 households received hygiene kits.
  2. 4785 vouchers were distributed in Kabarto 1&2, whereas another 2654 were distributed in Qadiya.
  3. Other individual interventions include sanitation services in two host villages, construction of WASH infrastructure in Gawilan refugee camp, boreholes for Shekhan, Chamisko and Essian camps as well as several water supply rehabilitation projects for returnees, mostly Yazidis, in the Sinjar district of Ninewa governorate, reaching ca 19.000 returnees.

Humanitarian relief to Syrians in Turkey:

The project delivered Non-food and Food items to 60, 828 Syrian refugees in Turkey and IDPS in neighbouring Syria. In total, 5,600 Hygiene kits were distributed amongst Syrian refugees in Turkey, whereas 9,138 food packages and 9,138 hygiene kits were distributed in Syria.

Important documents