[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the topic of refugees, migrants, and IDPs and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Refugees and Migrants Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. It is updated monthly. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to email@example.com.]
Latest Developments on COVID-19
CCCM guidance on preparedness and response planning, Iraq Informal Sites
CCCM Cluster and UNHCR published its response and guidance for potential outbreaks of COVID-19 in informal Iraqi humanitarian sites. As a preventative measure, the organizations advise that humanitarian actors work closely with local authorities and the Department of Health so that they can complement these entities’ activities. They emphasized that the success of preventative measures depends on community understanding and compliance. CCCM Cluster strongly advises accumulating humanitarian supplies in case of a government lockdown. The report prepared a checklist for humanitarian organizations to conduct these measures.
New cases confirmed near Sahrawi camps, 173,000 refugees at risk
Oxfam reported on precautionary measures taken in the Sahrawi camps after COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Tindouf province, Algeria. Health centers in the five camps lack medical supplies, beds, hygiene products, and have no ventilators. The camps are also vulnerable due to many pre-existing health concerns in the area, like coeliac disease and malnutrition. In response, all humanitarian activities, save for food distribution and basic services, have been halted. Oxfam and other organizations operating in the camps are working to supply thirty-three health facilities and establish public handwashing stations. Oxfam is requesting fourteen million US dollars to respond to this imminent crisis.
UNHCR and WFP extend assistance net to cover displaced and refugee families affected by pandemic
UNHCR and WFP announced that they are extending WFP food assistance programs in Iraq to an additional 35,000 Syrian refugees and 10,000 IDPs in response to the pandemic. Following the expansion, WFP will be aiding in total 76,000 refugees and 280,000 IDPs in Iraq. UNHCR is conducting a second month of hygiene cash assistance to 550,000 refugees, IDPS, and returnees. The organizations are appealing for 26 million US dollars and 31.9 million US dollars for their respective pandemic responses.
COVID-19: Qatar Charity provides equipment for medical staff in Syria
Qatar Charity announced that it delivered PPE to Jarablus, al-Rae, Azaz, Marea, and Afrin for medical personnel in Syria. The first delivery contained 3,500 N95 protective masks, 80,000 medical masks for health personnel, 175 electronic thermometers, and 85,000 pairs of medical gloves. The organization also installed seventy-two triage tents at thirty-six health centers for screening visitors. Qatar Charity is also setting up and equipping fourteen isolation centers, as well as sending a second round of PPE.
World Bank deploys USD 33.6 million in emergency response to help Iraq face the Coronavirus outbreak
The World Bank announced that it is reallocating 33.6 million US dollars from the Emergency Operation for Development Project (EODP) to support the Iraqi Ministry of Health in responding to the outbreak. The fast-tracked emergency response will supply public hospitals with ventilators, ICU beds, ECG machines, mobile X-ray machines and defibrillators in four to eight weeks. The second leg of the response will supply the country with additional equipment, consumables, and training for health workers and first responders. The World Bank emphasizes that this reallocation fits within the parameters of the EODP, as it contributes to rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and public services.
Iraq | UNHCR COVID-19 Update VI
UNHCR reported that as of 28 April, there were 1,928 cases and 90 deaths due to COVID-19 in Iraq. The number of new cases has fallen in the past week. The agency has identified one case of a person of concern. A thirty-two-year-old Syrian man tested positive in the Darashakran camp on 26 April after returning from work in Erbil city. He has since been admitted to the Emergency Central Hospital. His family and coworkers have tested negative, but are being quarantined as a precaution. The Darashakran and Qushtapa camps have been put on lockdown for fourteen days and humanitarian workers are urging self-isolation.
Iraq ‑ Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #2
USAID reported the extent of the pandemic and in Iraq as of 8 May. As of early May, ten humanitarian organizations still were requesting national access from the Iraqi government, which suspended authorizations in late 2019. WHO reported over 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 deaths in Iraq. Cases in the Kurdistan region have especially spiked in the past several weeks. Unpredictable circumstances and restrictions have caused nearly forty percent of NGOs to suspend activities. These COVID-19 related restrictions affect around one million people in need. USAID and UNHRC are still conducting humanitarian assessments and distributing assistance.
Briefing to the United Nations Security Council on Iraq (12 May 2020)
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, briefed the UNSC on the effects of COVID-19 in Iraq. The country’s health system was inadequately functioning prior to the outbreak, so the government must engage with and approve access papers for humanitarian efforts in the country. The pandemic restrictions have taken people off the streets, but public mistrust of the government is high. Parliament has yet to complete the electoral framework, crucial curfews have halted commercial activity, and government corruption remains a large issue. The economic crisis is stressing already vulnerable Iraqi. Hennis-Plasschaert emphasizes that the most effective form of counterterrorism is for the government to provide for its people.
COVID-19 strikes Yemen as humanitarian funding dries up
UNFPA reported that, as of 9 May, Yemen had thirty-four cases and nine deaths due to COVID-19. The agency warns that around 140 reproductive health facilities as well as ninety percent of its reproductive health services could be forced to close if it does not receive its requested funding by mid-May. These closures could affect up to 320,000 pregnant women. In addition, more than 9.1 million girls and women require support for their basic water, sanitary, and hygiene needs. Thus far, UNFPA has supplied 114 health centers with emergency equipment, along with 40 ventilators. UNFPA still requests 58.8 million US dollars for its 2020 Yemen humanitarian operations, in addition to 24 million US dollars for a COVID-19 response.
UN pulls half its foreign aid staff out of Yemeni capital as COVID-19 spreads
The New Humanitarian reported that almost one hundred UN staffers left Sana’a on a UN chartered flight to Ethiopia on 12 and 17 May. After these departures, about 60 foreign UN staffers remained in Yemen. There are 134 confirmed cases in the country, and 21 deaths, but the news agency suggests that the Houthi and rival governments are suppressing accounts of cases. Foreign UN staffers have been unable to work on the ground during quarantine restrictions and have been unable to leave the country since March.
IOM Yemen | Displacement in Marib
IOM published a situation overview displacement in Yemen since 21 January. IOM estimates that over 9,500 households have fled from the Sana’a, Marib, and al-Jawf governorates mostly to Marib City, Marib al-Wadi, Medghal, and Sirwah districts in Marib governorate. On 15 April, flooding damaged more than 3,500 IDP shelters across sixteen sites in Marib city, Sirwah, Alwadi, and Medghal districts. IOM has provided emergency supplies and basic needs for IDPs in the area, and although no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Marib, the agency is boosting clinic capabilities and establishing treatment and isolation centers.
PRCS is Mobilized to Assist Palestinian Communities in Lebanon
Palestine Red Crescent reported on its response to COVID-19 in Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon. The organization is disseminating health information via social media and COVID-19 leaflets in refugee camps. PRCS distributed one thousand food parcels to al-Jalil refugee camp, and is working to distribute packages to the remaining refugee camps in the near future. Dr. Samer Shihadeh, Director of the Society’s branch in Lebanon, noted that the pandemic is the third crisis to affect the community in the past year; in August 2019, the Ministry of Labor restricted Palestinian’s in the workforce, and in October 2019, civil protests further hurt employment opportunities.
UNRWA and MSF Inaugurate the Medical Isolation Centre in Siblin, Lebanon
MSF and UNRWA announced the opening of the Medical Isolation Center in the UNRWA’s Siblin Training Center, Lebanon on 6 May. The center has around one hundred beds and is ready to receive Palestinian refugee patients who tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected of contracting it, and cannot self-isolate. MSF is providing management, medical expertise, and training for UNRWA staff on infection prevention and control measures.
Syria Humanitarian Fund commits $23m for rapid support to communities to contain COVID-19
The Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF) has released twenty-three million US dollars to communities all over the country in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. These funds will be allocated to twenty-seven partners across thirty-two projects including UN agencies, international and national NGOs, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Support will include personal protective equipment, hospital and laboratory supplies for testing and treating patients and hygiene supplies as well as socio-economic aid to vulnerable communities. This immediate and quick response to the global emergency was made possible by the new flexibility of OCHA-managed country-based pooled funds.
UNHCR Update Libya
UNHCR compiled an update of its activity in Libya thus far in 2020. As of 8 May, 3,078 refugees and migrants had been intercepted crossing the Mediterranean and were subsequently registered by the Libyan Coast Guard. Of these, 809 are UNHCR persons of concern. The agency partially reopened the Community Day Center and Serraj Registration Center, adhering to pandemic safety measures and appointment-only services. The Community Day Center continues to provide primary care consultations and medical referrals. During May, UNHCR, LibAid, and IRC also distributed core relief items to refugees and asylum seekers in Gergaresh District, Tripoli as part of a Ramadan campaign to assist four thousand people. UNHCR states that a significant portion of persons of concern lost their jobs due to the pandemic, leaving many without basic living needs.
IOM Libya: Monthly Update - April 2020
IOM reported on the humanitarian status of Libya in terms of the pandemic. The agency reported that many already vulnerable migrants are facing more strenuous circumstances due to movement restrictions, lack of employment, restrictions to healthcare. IOM highlights that reduced income will not only affect the migrants, but also the recipients of their remittances. More migrants attempted to cross the Mediterranean in April than March. IOM predicts that crossing attempts will continue to increase due to better weather and other security distractions, like the pandemic. Throughout April, the Libyan Coast Guard and commercial vessels returned 395 migrants to Libyan shores. Additionally, 2,500 migrants were deported via land to Niger, Sudan, Chad, and Egypt. Over 1,250 Tunisians have been stranded at the Ras Ajdir border crossing for two weeks due to the border shutdown.
Conflict and the COVID-19 Pandemic Present a Significant Threat to Life in Libya
OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, WHO, and IOM released a joint statement calling for migrants apprehended at sea to not be arbitrarily detained in Libya. As of 13 May, there were sixty-four confirmed cases in Libya, and three deaths. The agencies and organizations stress that further escalation of violence will promote the rapid spread of COVID-19. The pandemic is also affecting supply chains and price levels, so there is a risk of a food crisis in addition to the health crisis. These entities call for an immediate ceasefire and continued funding.
Multi-Sectoral Rapid Needs Assessment: COVID19 - Jordan
UNHCR, UNICEF, and WFP reported on their collaborative efforts to assess basic household needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The update focused on refugees living in the Jordanian community, as they were most directly impacted by government restrictions. About half of the 1124 households were Syrian refugees, and the others were refugees of different origins or vulnerable Jordanians. They looked into health, food security, livelihoods, education, water, sanitation, hygiene, and protection. Their access to these factors has been limited in the past few weeks, though most respondents were aware of the pandemic and how to respond to it.
COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Response Operations in IDP Camps
Health Cluster, Shelter Cluster, UNHCR, and WHO published their preparedness and response operations for COVID-19 outbreaks in IDP camps in Iraq. The report advocates for separate quarantine and isolation centers away from IDP camps to isolate and care for suspected and confirmed patients. The quarantine centers should be in the camps for trace contact measures, but the report urges additional isolation centers in order to prevent the healthcare system from becoming more overwhelmed. The centers should also engage the community to create awareness and compliance.
Rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable women in Jordan
UN Women published an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on beneficiaries of the UN Women Oasis centers in camp and non-camp settings. The agency surveyed 847 people, mostly women, who reside in the Azraq and Za’atari refugee camps or surrounding Jordanian communities. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they could not access health centers, and thirty-four percent could not access medicine. In addition, 62.4 percent of women feared psychological and physical violence in their homes due to confinement. The crisis is also severely limiting these beneficiaries’ funds for basic needs and food stuff.
Assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese in Tripoli (Lebanon)
People In Needs (PIN) reported that relief aid to refugees and vulnerable populations in Tripoli, Lebanon, has been significantly reduced due to the pandemic circumstances, and aid programs have adapted to government restrictions. The report surveyed 133 households and conducted an additional fifty interviews. It found that ninety-six percent of households responded that nobody in the household was currently working, and ninety-two percent of respondents found that said that food and cash assistance was the main priority in the current crisis. Although the vast majority feel educated about the virus, they reported that they are unable to conduct the necessary precautions. These circumstances increased all household members' anxiety and fear about the future.
Other Latest Developments
Moroccans trapped in Spain for 2 months head home at last
AP News reported that hundreds of Moroccans who were in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta have begun to return to Morocco. In March, the Moroccan government barred people from entering the country, including nationals, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and protect the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. The government’s decision leftover 21,000 Moroccans stranded outside the country. Around 250 Moroccans have since returned from Ceuta. Some residents in Spain have opened their homes, churches, and public spaces to displaced Moroccans until they can return home.
Lebanon’s migrant workers’ plight worsens as crises multiply
AP News reported on the desperate measures that some of the 250,000 migrant workers are taking due to pandemic restrictions in Lebanon. AP News highlighted that many of these workers enter the country under a sponsorship program; many sponsoring employers withhold passports from their employees and enforce twenty-four-seven workweeks. In recent months, employers have begun leaving their sponsored employees at embassies. In the current economy, many migrant laborers lack work, and quarantine restrictions prevent them from leaving the country.
Tunisia: Situation map - Refugees and asylum-seekers
The UNHCR Tunisia operation map, published 14 May, shows a higher concentration of refugees and asylum-seekers in the Medenine, Sfax, and Sousse areas. Most of these migrants come from the Syrian Arab Republic (1672), Côte d'Ivore (1275), Sudan (291), Eritrea (248), and Somalia (196).
Daily iftar meals for 2,500 people
IHH Humanitarian Relief foundation provided residents of refugee camps on the outskirts of Idlib, Syria with 2,500 iftar meals. They are planning to increase this number thanks to donors’ contributions. Their Ramadan operations started early this year in order to take measures against the spread of COVID-19, which led to the cancelations of all their collective iftar organizations.
Switzerland contributes CHF 1.8 million to assist Sahrawi refugees families in Algeria
WPF announced that the Swiss government donated 1.9 million US dollars to the agency’s school food program and basic food assistance for Sahrawi refugees. The pandemic has cut off the already isolated Sahrawi camps from the outside economy, so its residents are reliant on WPF assistance for food. WPF acknowledges that the Swiss government has contributed 30.6 million US dollars to WPF Algeria in the past fifteen years. This assistance will go towards monthly food rations and snacks for forty thousand school-aged children.
Muslim World League donates US$ 1 million to UNRWA
UNRWA reported that Muslim World League contributed one million US dollars toward vocational training programs for young Palestinian refugees in Jordan. The funding will enable UNRWA to upgrade its training equipment and safety devices, rehabilitate part of the center, and cover staff salaries for a year. The Wadi Seer Training Center has shifted courses online to ensure that one thousand trainees will complete their semester.
New satellite TV education channel will support 1.5 million learners in Kurdistan Region of Iraq
UNICEF reported that it has partnered with the Kurdistan Ministry of Education to establish a TV education channel to serve 1.5 million youths, including refugees and IDPS, grades one through twelve. The Kanalli Parwadaee channel will broadcast daily lessons and information about health practices in Arabic, Kurdish, and Syriac languages for the next three months. UNICEF stresses that the program will help vulnerable children continue their education and make them more likely to return to school when they reopen.
FAO makes gains in the fight against Desert Locusts in East Africa and Yemen but threat of a food security crisis remains
FAO reported that it has continued its program in Yemen and East Africa against desert locusts despite pandemic constraints. Thus far in 2020, 365,000 hectares of land have been treated. The agency estimated that prevention efforts saved over 720,000 tons of grain, which is enough to feed five million people a year, and supported 350,000 pastoral households. Director-General Qu Dongyu commended the efforts, but warned that these efforts have only addressed the first breeding season, and that affected countries must be prepared for the second wave in June. FAO emphasized that these efforts are even more critical as COVID-19 has invariably increased the severity of food insecurity in the already stressed region.
SDRPY Monitors Health and Education Projects in Hajjah Province, Supplies State-of-the-Art Ambulance
The government of Saudi Arabia reported that the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) in Hajjah Governorate delivered a fully equipped ambulance to the Saudi Hospital in Hayran. The delivery follows the program’s assessment of the province’s need for basic services and increased support of the Saudi Hospital. SDRPY also is conducting field visits and monitoring its established educational projects in the governorate.
QRCS, QFFD sign pact to support displaced Syrians in Idlib
Qatar Red Crescent Society and Qatar Fund for Development agreed to provide four million US dollars in joint medical support for Syrian women and children under the Quest Health Initiative, which provides urgent relief for displaced Syrians. This joint initiative will provide health services, medical support, and health capacity building in Syria and host communities.
‘Save us from this area, from this war’: Refugees seek safety in Tripoli, Libya school
The New Humanitarian reported on the threats faced by the 3,400 migrants detained near Tripoli. On 8 May, an air strike injured two people in a migrant detention center. The news agency shared reports of another militia attack targeted at a detention center in late April. The Libyan Red Crescent runs a migrant shelter in a former school, housing 150 people, including 40 children and 6 pregnant women. Most shelter residents lived in the city prior to the fighting, but several had been held in detention centers abandoned during the escalation. Thus far, 59,000 people have been displaced during the fighting. The New Humanitarian noted that evacuating refugees is difficult due to discriminatory shelter practices and restrictions.
IOM, UNHCR Urge European States to Disembark Rescued Migrants and Refugees on Board the Captain Morgan Vessels
IOM and UNHCR called upon European states to allow 160 migrants to disembark in Europe following the standard two-week quarantine at sea. While the agencies recognize public health challenges, they offer their support in the arrival process and remind European countries that leaving these migrants at sea puts them in inhumane conditions and violates international law. The agencies note that seventeen migrants were successfully transferred from Malta to France this month, so solidarity is possible and necessary.
UN: Libya coast guard intercepts and detains about 400 migrants
AP News reported that the Libyan coast guard intercepted around four hundred migrants between 23 and 24 May. Two of these migrants had died at sea. The remainder were put in Libyan detention centers. Travel restrictions during the pandemic had caused major NGO rescue missions to halt their operations, and UN refugee and migration agencies have stopped resettlement flights for the most vulnerable migrants.
Weather and war: How climate shocks are compounding Somalia’s problems
The New Humanitarian reported on the effects of drought, flooding, and insurgency in Somalia this year. Intense drought earlier this year has transitioned to unprecedented flooding, displacing over 370,000 people. Despite FAO projects to rehabilitate irrigation systems in the South West State and Jubaland State, most humanitarian projects address immediate crises rather than long-term structural reform. The New Humanitarian emphasizes that climate change in Somalia is a national security issue that demands greater attention in order to address insurgency.
‘Like a ship about to sink’: Refugees in Jordan voice pandemic despair
The New Humanitarian reported on the further stressed living conditions of refugees in Jordan due to pandemic restrictions, and NGO responses. Government policies and pandemic relief programs mostly focus on Jordanians, so refugees are being barred from returning to work and are only eligible for an inadequate amount of aid. As of mid-May, UNHCR reported that more than ninety percent of refugees in Jordan had less than seventy US dollars left in savings. International emergency cash programs are limited due to pandemic restrictions and a recent shift towards development projects. Only about thirty thousand families qualify for UNHCR cash assistance, but the agency estimates that an additional fifty thousand require cash assistance as well.
Daring to Ask, Listen, and Act: A Snapshot of the Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and Girls' rights and sexual and reproductive health
Plan International and UNFPA published their rapid assessment of the effects of COVID-19 on girls (ages ten to seventeen) and young women (ages eighteen to twenty-four) in Jordan. The study surveyed around four hundred participants in Irbid, Karak, Amman governorates and the Azraq and Za’atari refugee camps. It found that gender was not a factor in stress and anxiety rates concerning the pandemic. However, women and girls had difficulty accessing aid compared to their male counterparts, and are experiencing a greater burden of household responsibilities. Emotional and physical abuse has increased during the lockdown, and is coupled with greater inaccessibility to GBV and SRH services. The study also found that Syrians in Jordan were ten percent more worried about the effects of the pandemic than Jordanians. Palestinians were the least worried migrant and refugee group.
Minimum expenditure basket for Syrian refugees in Lebanon: Rights-based versus expenditure-based approaches
WFP found the current, normative, rights-based implementation for Minimum Expenditure Baskets (MEB) and Survival MEB for Syrian refugees in Lebanon do not accurately reflect their needs. An expenditure-based approach just covers refugee households’ basic needs. The study determined that the combined per capita/per household assistance methodology more accurately reflected household needs because, until the rights-based approach, it does not assume that household needs grow proportionally to household size. The study recommends that organizations factor in inflation, price changes, and available expenditure to revise (S)MEB for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Broken Home: Women’s housing, land and property rights in post-conflict Iraq
The Norwegian Refugee Council reported that militias, tribes, and relatives of Iraqi women are still denying them of their property. Displaced women are eleven percent more likely than men to be unable to return to their homes from camps due to discriminatory barriers. Out of the 1,002 women surveyed, forty-three percent claimed that women do not have a right to property, despite Iraqi law, due to tribal law and barriers from relatives. The women claimed that any suspected affiliation with ISIS also prevented them from regaining their property. These injustices continue to grow as the pandemic has restricted access to courts and legal services.
Iraq: Humanitarian Access Severity Overview (April 2020)
OCHA published an overview of humanitarian groups’ access via focus group discussions with its partner organizations. The report found that in the first quarter of 2020, humanitarian access deteriorated due to the government’s suspension of authorizations for NGOs starting in December 2019, and continuing with government restrictions during the pandemic. More than 1.77 million of the 4.1 million Iraqis in need of assistance reside in districts with moderate to severe access constraints, including al-Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, and Sulaymaniyah.
Iraq Preparedness Quarterly Update, January – March 2020
Logistics Cluster and WFP published its pandemic preparedness project for the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) government. A Gap Analysis Workshop with humanitarian actors operating in the area determined bottlenecks and logistical gaps in the humanitarian supply chain. Although the pandemic has restricted the review process for the reform plan, the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre continues to work on its authorization.
Post Distribution and Outcome Monitoring Report (Winter of 2019/2020)
UNHCR published its monitoring report for the 2019-2020 winter, in which the agency surveyed 260,000 families, including Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese families. The report found that the cost of living increased in the winter from 75 US dollars to 150 US dollars due to the economic crisis. UNHCR gave an additional one cash payment to refugees in October 2019 to help with the extra costs. The WinCAP assistance from the UNHCR allowed recipients to access adequate winter clothing and heaters. Families receiving WinCAP assistance reported per capita monthly expenditures above the poverty line.
3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan, in Response to the Syria Crisis: Covid-19 Response - April 2020
UNDP and UNHCR published their monthly report about the situation of the 5.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. The report found that Syrian refugees generally faced greater challenges in earning income, providing shelter, and accessing healthcare. Women face increased risks of domestic violence due to the pandemic restrictions. Misperceptions and misinformation about the virus is creating friction between host communities and Syrian refugees, which is putting Syrian refugees at risk of more violence.
Strengthening coordinated education planning and response in crises: Syria case study
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) published a study on the collaboration between humanitarian and development actors to strengthen education outcomes for Syrian youth. The study found that coordination increased equity, access, continuity, protection, and education equality for displaced students. ODI’s report recommends the expansion of information sharing protocols to increase transparency between actors, avoid overlapping initiatives, and invest in national actors' capabilities.
Yemen Situation Report
OCHA reported that the food insecurity situation continues to deteriorate. Aid continues to reach displaced persons in Marib and al-Jawf, and the Yemen Humanitarian Fund has allocated 3.5 million US dollars to provide critical aid to people in need. As the crisis enters its sixth year, twenty-four million people continue to require assistance or protection. The report estimates that even if the conflict were to end now, it would take decades to recover.
Syria: 'Nowhere is safe for us': Unlawful attacks and mass displacement in Northwest Syria
Amnesty International reported on human rights violations by the Syrian government and Russian actors in the Syrian conflict. Researchers interviewed seventy-four people in northwest Syria and conducted an investigation that documented eighteen attacks on medical facilities and schools between 5 May 2019 and 25 February 2020. The organization categorizes these attacks as crimes against humanity because they deliberately targeted civilian facilities. Since the ceasefire in March, one million people have become displaced, which presents a more dire humanitarian crisis in light of the pandemic. By early May, the organization estimated that 114,000 of those people had returned to their communities. Amnesty sent its report to the Syrian and Russian UN Missions, but has yet to hear a response.
Allocation Strategy Paper - Syria Cross Border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF) 2020
OCHA reported on the humanitarian situation and aid allocation in Northwest Syria. Despite the 6 March ceasefire, long term humanitarian needs are immense in both host and IDP communities. Out of the 1 million people displaced since December 2019, 840,000 people remain displaced. Around 141,000 persons have returned to their original areas in Idleb and Aleppo. In addition, the weak informal exchange rate during the economic crisis is raising the price of food imports, on which Northwest Syria heavily depends. About a third of current IDPs in the area require basic shelter, and shelter rehabilitation remains a large priority for over 157,000 IDPs. Although no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Syria as of 13 May, WHO considers it a high-risk country.