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Donor alert: Syria crisis - North-western Syria, August 2018

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2.98 million Estimated population in Idleb, western Aleppo, Northern Hama and Eastern Lattakia

2.1 million Estimated people-in-need, including an estimated 1.38 million people displaced

200,000 - 700,000 People who may be newly displaced


For an already vulnerable population, many of whom have been displaced multiple times, health risks are severe:

  • Increased gaps in essential health service provision for patients with noncommunicable diseases.

  • High levels of disability, trauma and burns related injuries from ongoing and increased hostilities.

  • Potential cases of exposure to chemical agents, requiring provision of specialized care.

  • Increased risk of communicable diseases due to displacement, overcrowding and poor immunization coverage.

  • Insecurity and limited access impeding referral of urgent medical cases to hospital.

  • Shortages of medical supplies.


US$ 11 million Required by WHO to respond to immediate health needs of people in north-western Syria affected by conflict

WHO has scaled up preparedness and is activating response plans for increased humanitarian needs in north-western Syria, including for all areas in rural Hama, Aleppo, northern Latakia and Idleb governorates that may be affected by an escalation of violence.
US$ 11 million is required to allow WHO and implementing partners to respond immediately and flexibly to emerging needs.

Current Situation

Almost three million people are currently living in Non-State Armed Group-controlled (NSAG) areas of Idleb, western Aleppo, northern Hama and Eastern Latakia, where the security situation remains volatile and unstable. The ongoing conflict has had a negative impact on civilian populations, resulted in mass displacements and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities and settlements hosting displaced populations.
Less than half of the previously existing public health facilities remain functional across areas that may soon witness increased violence. To fill the gap and meet the health needs of the population, WHO will continue to support health service provision using a Whole-of-Syria approach which targets people in need using the most direct route.
The health situation in Idleb is particularly dire as a result of more than 500,000 displacements to and within the area since January 2017, coupled with limited access to health services. Improvised explosive devices, targeted assassinations, kidnappings and poor living conditions already make the situation in Idleb insecure and dangerous.
In Afrin, 136,000 individuals are estimated to remain in the district, including more than 40,000 in Afrin city. An additional 134,000 people from Afrin remain displaced in the Tall Refaat sub-district, Nabul and Zahraa towns and surrounding communities. WHO has been responding to health needs of these populations since their displacement earlier this year, although it is unclear how future hostilities will impact them.
Displaced people are at increased risk of infectious diseases due to limited access to safe water and sanitation, overcrowding and other risk factors. Some of these individuals are patients suffering from trauma injuries that still require post-surgical care, disability and rehabilitation services. A majority of displaced people require continuity of care for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and renal diseases, diabetes, cancer, psychosocial and mental health, and as well maternal and child health services.
As conflict in the area escalates, significant levels of displacement from areas to which Government of Syria forces are advancing are likely to occur, with estimates of 200,000 -700,000 people potentially displaced, mainly from Idleb city.