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Humanitarian Situation Overview in Syria (HSOS): Greater Idleb Area, March 2022

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Introduction and Methodology

HSOS is a monthly assessment that provides comprehensive, multi-sectoral information about the humanitarian conditions and priority needs inside Syria. This factsheet presents a thematic review based on the HSOS assessment of the priority needs and humanitarian assistance, economic conditions, living conditions, access to basic services, COVID-19 situation, and the security and protection situation in the Greater Idleb area in Northwest Syria (NWS). Sector-specific indicator findings by location can be found on the HSOS dashboard.

The assessment is conducted using a key informant (KI) methodology at the community level. REACH enumerators are based inside Syria and interview three to six KIs per assessed location, either directly or remotely (via phone). KIs are chosen based on their communitylevel and sector-specific knowledge. This factsheet presents information gathered in 371 communities across the greater Idleb area. Data was collected between 1-22 March 2022 from 1,320 KIs (15% female). Unless specified by an endnote, all indicators refer to the situation in the 30 days prior to data collection. Findings are indicative rather than representative, and should not be generalized across the population and region. Findings that are calculated based on a subset of the community are indicated by the following footnote ♦, with each subset specified in the endnotes.

The complete monthly HSOS dataset is available on the REACH Resource Centre.

Key Highlights

● Adverse weather conditions and the deterioration of the economic situation continued to drive humanitarian needs in Greater Idleb. Floods and strong winds largely damaged displacement sites across the region. The rapid depreciation of the Turkish lira impacted the prices of basic commodities, especially food items. The high cost of health services continued to impact access to healthcare.

● Greater Idleb was affected by extreme weather conditions for a fourth consecutive month. During the first half of March, the region was affected by a severe storm, heavy rainfall and strong winds, which damaged internally displaced people (IDP) camps. This likely explains why KIs in 53% of assessed communities reported shelter as one of the top priority needs for IDPs, up from 48% in January. While adverse weather conditions increased civilians’ need for heating fuel, the rising fuel prices and decreasing access to heating fuel reduced the availability of adequate heating. Accordingly, KIs in 63% of assessed communities reported a lack of heating as a shelter inadequacy. To cope with a lack of heating, communities engaged in negative coping mechanisms such as burning unsafe materials for heating. The use of these unsafe materials caused fires in several camps in northern Idleb, resulting in a number of injuries and significant material damages.

● The growing economic crisis impacted the prices of basic commodities and contributed to mounting food insecurity in the region. In March, the value of the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) increased by 12% compared to February 2022, reaching 590,125 Syrian pound (SYP).d This represents a 33% increase in the last 6 months and marks the highest ever recorded average price since monitoring started. The increase in the SMEB is largely explained by the increase in food prices. The SMEB food component in March increased by 14% compared to February, reaching nearly 445,000 SYP. Food items that contributed to the increase were bulk items including cooking oil, ghee, flour, and sugar. The hike in food prices likely relates to the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on Turkey as well as the continued depreciation of the Turkish Lira against the US dollar. Turkey relies on both Russian and Ukrainian products, including cooking oil and wheat, while Northwest Syria, in turn, heavily depends on Turkish imports.

● The high cost of health services continued to affect access to healthcare. KIs in 60% of assessed communities cited the high cost of health services as a common challenge, up from 55% in February. A lack of medicines/medical equipment and a lack of ambulance services were also widespread issues, reported by KIs in 64% (59% in November 2021) and 31% (21% in November) of the assessed communities, respectively. Increased shortages in medicines and equipment, coupled with a reduction in services, made accessing healthcare particularly difficult for populations across Greater Idleb.