Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, poverty in Syria has dramatically increased due to violence and a collapsed economy. Below are 10 facts about poverty in Syria.
- Before the crisis, Syria was a middle-income country. Now, more than 80 percent of people are living in poverty, perhaps the most severe of these facts about poverty in Syria. Within Syria’s shattered economy, 70 percent of people lack regular access to clean water and 95 percent lack satisfactory healthcare. From 2011 to 2016, cumulative GDP loss is estimated at $226 billion.
- Since the war began, an estimated 470,000 people have been killed. Of those, 55,000 have been children. Since foreign powers have joined the conflict, the war has become even deadlier.
- Before the civil war, Syria was polio-free. However, in 2017, 74 cases of polio were detected.
- Since December 2017, an estimated 212,000 people have fled their homes. Most displaced people are living with insufficient access to aid in makeshift shelters. Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, is a particular area of intense fighting unreached by aid. In total since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 million Syrians have fled their homes to other Syrian cities or to neighboring countries.
- Turkey currently hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees at 3.5 million. However, 90 percent of them in Turkey live outside of aid camps and have limited access to basic services.
- Children lack educational opportunities and the war has reversed two decades of education progress. More than two million Syrian children are no longer in school. One-third of schools are not in use due to damage.
- Children are often seen as a nation’s hope for a better future, but these children have undergone high amounts of stress through having lost loved ones, suffering injuries, missing years of schooling, and experiencing violence and brutality. In addition, children are particularly vulnerable to health risks, abuse or exploitation. Many are drafted into the war or captured on the long trips they must make to safety.
- The war has destroyed Syria’s agricultural infrastructure and irrigation systems resulting in decreased food production. Wheat has dramatically suffered from both conflict and low rainfall. Since 2010, the overall food production in Syria has dropped by 40 percent.
- Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, Syrian humanitarian needs have increased twelve-fold. An estimated 13.1 million people are in need, and close to three million people are trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. Of these, more than 90 percent are in Eastern Ghouta.
- Charity organizations across the globe are working to help the millions of Syrians affected by the war. Five of the top charity groups are UNICEF, Save The Children, Syrian American Medical Society, The White Helmets and International Rescue Committee.
These facts about poverty in Syria illustrate the need for more help. Humanitarian organizations are struggling to meet the needs that continue to grow. In 2017, $4.6 billion was required to give emergency support and stabilization to families throughout the region. Only half was received. To build resilience against poverty in Syria and to increase peaceful communities, it is essential to increase funding.
– Anne-Marie Maher