A girl struggles to keep herself warm in winter. About 14.6 million Syrians require support amid fuel and power shortages in Syria, according to the UN. Photo: JRS Syria
There is “a tremendous sense of despair” among Syrians as electricity and fuel have become scarce, and the country plunges into a deepening humanitarian and economic crisis, according to a report from Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a partner of Canadian Jesuits International (CJI).
“Since November 30, there has been almost no available fuel for public and private use,” wrote Fr Daniel Corrou SJ Middle East and North Africa Regional Director for Jesuit Refugee Service, in an email to JRS partners last December. “There is no fuel for heat during the long cold winter,” many place receive less than 30 minutes of electricity per day, and public transit has ground to a halt, he said. “The streets are empty.”
On January 9, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution to extend humanitarian aid to northwest Syria for the next six months. A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the decision comes “as humanitarian needs have reached the highest levels since the start of the conflict in 2011, with people in Syria grappling with a harsh winter and a cholera outbreak.”
Earlier, UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen warned that “the potential for catastrophic deterioration is all too real,” as Syria grapples not just with the humanitarian and economic crisis but also a continued armed conflict and military escalation.
About 14.6 million people require support, and the number could reach 15.3 million this year, he said.
L to R: (1) Mother wraps her baby in thick blanket to keep her warm.(2) In the absence of electricity, children try to keep warm by placing their hands over a stove. Photos: JRS Syria
Fr Corrou noted that several people who recently visited Syria refer to the situation as “crippling,” with some saying that Syrians describe the situation as worse than the height of the war in 2012-2018. A regular refrain from Syrians has been, “You can avoid bombs, but no one can avoid hunger when there is no bread,” they reported.
“After years of war and under heavy sanctions, the situation of normal people in Syria has been tenuous for many years. These new trials add to the multiple traumas faced by the people of Syria,” said Fr Corrou. “All of this will have an impact on the work of JRS in the coming months. We rely on our partners for their flexibility and generosity. ”
CJI has been supporting the work of the Jesuits and JRS for over a decade inside Syria and with refugees in Lebanon and Jordan – with education, food assistance, social services, and more – and continues to support them today.
To help support the important work of the Jesuits in Syria, please