DAMASCUS, 23 December 2019 – For the first time, a high-level donor delegation, comprising representatives from Belgium, Norway, Spain and Switzerland, together with a Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF) team, has visited two communities in Quneitra governorate, southern Syria, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Syria announced today.
The one-day visit in early December was the first opportunity for donors to visit SHF-supported humanitarian projects and see first-hand the challenging humanitarian situation in Quneitra governorate. Across Quneitra, more than 60,000 people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance. The region also hosts at least 5,000 internally displaced persons; with an additional 10,000 people who have returned to the area this year following the end of local hostilities.
The delegation visited two SHF-supported projects in Kodanah and Um Batneh towns. In Kodanah, the World Health Organisation has utilized SHF funding to establish the sole primary health care centre in the area, providing local women, men and children with quality maternal health care, internal medicine, pediatric and psychosocial support. Also in Kodanah, but also Um Batneh, ADRA, an international NGO, is repairing damaged schools. The delegation visited one school where repairs are complete, and children attend classes. Another school is expected to open for the school semester in January 2020.
“I am delighted our donors were able to see for themselves the vital contribution the Syria Humanitarian Fund makes to the lives of people in southern Syria,” said Mr. Imran Riza, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria. “Their continued support ensures we are able to meet the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable wherever they are.”
The SHF is a multi-donor pooled fund, managed by OCHA, that receives contributions from public and private contributors. In 2019, the SHF has supported 57 projects with 31 humanitarian partners, collectively worth US$36.45 million. A further US$15 million allocation is under process, focusing on increased humanitarian needs in northeast Syria.
Since it was established in 2014, the SHF has supported 58 humanitarian organizations in Syria to deliver essential protection, water and sanitation, health, food, education and other relief, operating within the parameters of the Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan to meet the most critical needs and to support an effective and coordinated humanitarian response. The SHF carries out regular monitoring visits. In 2019, team members visited projects in Aleppo, Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor, Homs, Hama, Dará and Quneitra.
About the Syria Humanitarian Fund
The Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), initiated in June 2014, is led by the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator supported by the Advisory Board, to support the delivery of strategic humanitarian response while retaining the flexibility to allocate funds to unforeseen events or special requirements. It is generously supported by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
For more information, visit: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/syria