A team of AmeriCares aid workers in the field have reported urgent medical gaps in Syria and neighboring countries, where our partners are providing crucial care and humanitarian aid to people fleeing the horrific violence.
Since the brutal conflict began, AmeriCares has provided more than $2 million in emergency medical and humanitarian aid to partners helping people in the war-torn region. Additional shipments are underway, but much more is needed.
"Medical needs are staggering. Hospitals and health providers have been the target of attacks by both sides of the conflict," explained Karl Erdmann, AmeriCares emergency response manager. “At the same time, the number of people requiring medical assistance has greatly increased, both as a direct result of conflict, but also indirectly as general public health deteriorates.”
Erdmann explained that infections, diarrhea, respiratory problems as well as chronic and acute diseases are taking a tremendous toll. And health concerns are not limited to within Syria: “At our partner’s clinic in the Za’atri camp in Jordan, the flow of patients—some holding sick children in their arms—was constant,” he said.
While in Turkey and Jordan, our team collaborated with medical partners providing assistance over the borders in Syria and uncovered crucial needs, including:
- Safe drinking water: In the coming months, the World Health Organization anticipates a spike in the incidence of waterborne diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid and cholera due to the disruption of clean drinking water and sanitation inside Syria. “Given the scale of population movement both inside Syria and across borders, together with deteriorating environmental health conditions, outbreaks are inevitable,” according to WHO.
- Clean birthing kits and delivery supplies: Partners are reporting that women at risk are delivering their babies by C-section in order to control the time and place where they give birth. With almost all of the hospitals and clinics in such areas damaged or destroyed, providers are often working in unsanitary and unsafe environments. The risks posed to pregnant mothers and their babies in such conditions can be deadly, so there is an urgent need to provide midwives and other skilled birth attendants with supplies needed to provide safe and healthy deliveries.
- Chronic disease medications: While wound and trauma care has been prioritized, the needs of patients suffering from chronic diseases have been overlooked. The collapse of the health care system and pharmaceutical industry has led to an urgent need to provide chronic care medications for diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to those who desperately require such drugs.
- Surgical supplies and equipment: Bullets, grenades and bomb attacks are leaving much of the Syrian population disfigured and scarred. Many of the victims are innocent bystanders – including women and children – caught up in the conflict. AmeriCares partners in Jordan and Syria are helping survivors recover from such wounds but they need more basic materials and equipment to do so properly and on an adequate scale.
People killed in the conflict including more than 6,000 children.
People in need of humanitarian assistance
Internally displaced people inside Syria
Refugees fleeing the conflict to neighboring countries
“This unrelenting war has continued for over two years with devastating consequences for the Syrian people,” said Erdmann. “With nearly 100,000 people killed and millions displaced by the conflict, help is needed now more than ever before.”