Thousands of Syrians have been killed since more than 10years ago when protestors first demonstrated against the Assad family’s rule. Worse still, more than half of the country’s population are refugees in Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan. Syria’s economy is in a crisis, and the most devastating challenges in 2022 arise from the systemic collapse of the country’s economic, agricultural, and service sectors.
The regional energy sharing agreements like gas transfer through Syria have collapsed due to insurgent attacks and network failures. Syria’s infrastructure awaits repatriation on system wide level, and locally, its hydrological networks are wanting with the impact of annual rainfall shortages and upstream damming.
Syria also faces acute food shortage and a possible famine this year, and regional inflation is driving importation costs high. The crisis in Syria has also reduced the capability of the Syrian diaspora to remit earnings back home to facilitate their families, and more refugees are facing an imminent food shortage.
The UN agriculture organization says that Syria’s wheat production dropped from 2.8million tonnes harvested in 2020 to 10.5tonnes in 2021 and even less in 2022, contributing significantly to the food shortage. Substandard resource management, poor water access, fuel shortages, and unaffordable inputs have diminished cropping. Up to date, few or no plans have been set to address the refugee crisis in Syria.
What happens next?
The truth is many Syrians face extreme needs and greater hardships than any other time during the crisis. The cumulative effects of the Syrian crisis are becoming apparent through a sanctioned economy, deferred maintenance, conflict damage, and depleted household savings.
Even though more people have come out to help Syrian refugees, donors have realized that addressing this crisis will require significant multilateral collaborations, multi-year strategies, and a willingness to develop more ambitious strategies. There is more likelihood of years of instability in Syria as peace talks have been futile and the Assad family continues to hold on to power.
Although the violence has reduced, Syrian civilians face an extreme economic crisis, with more than 80% of the population living in poverty. They have been the victims of international sanctions such as the US caesar act that s forcing the regime to reform. The sanctions have discouraged other countries like UAE from normalizing their relationships with Syria.
That means Syria will rely more on aid as their needs rise dramatically over time. For instance, since their agricultural sector is stunted by water shortage, transport and mobility issues, import challenges, and fuel issues addressing the food shortage issue will take time as the government tackles this root problem. Donors and volunteers should do more to help Syrian refugees.
There are many ways individuals can help Syrian refugees, including:
- Fundraising for medical aid, food, shelter, mental health services, and education to Syrian kids.
- Help with legal support.
- Support businesses run by Syrian refugees.
- Share their plight for more people to come on board and help.
- Offer shelter if possible.
- Support volunteer doctors with medical aid.
The Syrian refugee crisis has lasted for a decade now, but you can always do something to help. Even if you cannot donate, you can read and share their stories online to expand the conversation towards ending the crisis.