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Syria Crisis

A bullet grazed 11-year-old Sara’s* (right) skull when she fled from Syria to Jordan with her family. She now lives in Zarqa, in Jordan. *Some names have been changed (Photo: Sam Tarling / Oxfam)


Years of brutal fighting have devastated Syria, a country that was a thriving, middle-income country before the start of the conflict in 2011. Over 400,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the conflict. In the past few years, in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, we have been helping more than 2 million people with life-saving clean water, sanitation, and vital support for families who have lost everything. Oxfam Hong Kong allocated HK$2.76 million between December 2013 and September 2017 to respond to this emergency.

The situation

  • According to the UN, 12.2 million Syrians have fled conflict in Syria, which is more than half of the country’s pre-war population.
  • 11.7 million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, of which 6.6 million have had to leave their homes.
  • 5.6 million people have fled the country, with the majority seeking refuge in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, where a quarter of the population are now Syrian refugees.
  • 86% of refugees live outside camps in Jordan and 70% of refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line.
  • Syrian refugees account for the majority of the more than one million people who've fled to Europe since the start of 2015.


Oxfam's response 

Oxfam’s response programme has been implemented by Oxfam Great Britain. The programme countries include Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.


The impact of the wider Syria crisis in Lebanon has been massive - a 30% population increase means every area of life is under pressure, with schools, hospitals, housing and businesses all struggling to cope. We work both directly with refugees themselves, and with communities hosting refugees to address common challenges such as water and jobs. We are helping families get the information they need about their legal and human rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services.

Oxfam has reached more than 250,000 vulnerable people in Lebanon. Our response has included:

  • Providing 3,200 hygiene kits accompanied by hygiene promotion and awareness sessions and distributing household, communal and municipal waste bins.
  • Building and repairing over 1,100 toilets, ensuring that each is shared by no more than 20 people.
  • Installing over 720 water tanks in communal areas.
  • Delivering water through water trucking, providing refugees with clean water for drinking, cooking and washing.
  • Constructing or repairing 70 shared bathing facilities, and providing families with jerry cans and water storage containers. 


Oxfam is working in Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan's fourth largest 'city', to address water needs among other things. We help nearly 25,000 camp residents, and work with partners on constructing a water network throughout the camp that can address the needs of all 80,000 people who live there.

Oxfam works in three of Za'atari's 12 districts, supervising water and sanitation, refuse management and the cleaning and maintenance of water, hygiene and sanitation blocks, we also co-ordinate hygiene promotion activities.

From waste to work: Recycling in Za'atari refugee camp


In Za'atari refugee camp, Oxfam has completed construction of drinking water network and waste water network. Besides, private household toilets were constructed for the most vulnerable households.

In host communities Oxfam is still providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable refugees and Jordanians, and at the same time working on more long term development issues such as water governance, economic opportunities and gender equality. During 2017 Oxfam has provided humanitarian assistance to 5,913 families, who have received support in terms of winterization kits that allow vulnerable families to protect themselves from the harsh winters, protection services, cash assistance, and the rehabilitation of household water and sanitation facilities.


Oxfam Great Britain has had an office inside Syria since July 2013, responding alongside other agencies to the urgent need for clean water. An estimated 35% of water treatment plants in Syria have been damaged during the conflict and there are concerns over water contamination.

We have been working primarily to make sure people have enough clean water, and are able to keep themselves clean and healthy. The Suleiman Al-Halabi water pumping station is the main water source for Aleppo city, and we are committed to keeping the generator, which we previously installed, operational. Water pumped from here reaches people across conflict lines. Besides, we installed a second huge generator in Aleppo to increase the capacity of water delivered to the population of around 1.5 million people.

In Hama, the equipping of the Lwebde pumping station has been completed, facilitating the supply of clean water to 133,000 conflict affected people. The security situation continues to make operations very challenging.


Campaigning for a political solution to the conflict

Providing life-saving support to the millions of people affected by this devastating conflict is essential but it is not enough. We have been campaigning and advocating for an end to the fighting, and a sustainable and inclusive political solution since the beginning of the crisis.

We will continue to call on all parties to the conflict to stop any arms transfers and guarantee humanitarian access and protection of civilians, whether inside Syria or in neighbouring countries.

We are also calling for rich states to commit to fully funding Syria crisis response appeal and to resettle 10 per cent of all registered Syrian refugees.

In the face of this darkness ordinary Syrians are committing unseen acts of heroism every day. Inspired by their courage, we joined hands #WithSyria with over 130 organisations and individuals on the movement, and we do all we can to help end the suffering and turn the lights back on.

Oxfam's Urgent Call

  1. Boost the humanitarian response - fully fund the aid response and ensure refugees seeking safety find asylum, including through increased resettlement for the most vulnerable;
  2. Stop attacks on civilians - send an unequivocal message to parties to the conflict that attacks on civilians and blocks to aid will not be tolerated; and
  3. Prioritize a political solution with human rights at the heart: a halt to the suffering can only be achieved if negotiations - whether local or international - include safeguards to ensure respect for international humanitarian and human rights law.

#WithSyria: Online petition | Facebook