Close to a humanitarian catastrophe / News / News agency Inforos
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Close to a humanitarian catastrophe

Economic consequences of the Syrian crisis...

02.10.2013 14:23 Sergey Orlov

Close to a humanitarian catastrophe
Context:

The opposition in Syria has been going on for more than two years. During this period, the country has suffered huge losses, both human and material. According to the UN’s estimates, more than a hundred thousand people were killed, about two million fled to neighboring countries. The situation of civilians - if one can call so the population of the country where there is a fierce confrontation of “all against all” - is getting worse.

In the cities, the water and electricity delivery interruptions are frequent events, not enough food, medicines and other articles of prime necessity. In Aleppo, in summer of this year, the rebels took control of the highway leading to the city and blocked the supplies of foodstuffs. In Homs, where one block can be controlled by the government army, and the next by the rebels, the few remaining inhabitants have no access to medical aid, electricity and food. There is a lack of even clean water.

Not only the communal but also transport infrastructure has been destroyed. One part of roads is controlled by the government army, another by the opposition, and yet another is not controlled by anyone, others are simply destroyed. Hardly anybody risks to move around the country by car. Much of the permanent way is destroyed too. No money for reconstruction.

In rural localities, the situation is none the better: farmers have lost a major portion of the harvest, there is not even the seeds left for next year. Meanwhile, before the crisis about 10 million Syrians (almost half of the total population) were employed in the agricultural sector. People were forced to either abandon their agricultural farms, or leave the crops unharvested due to lack of manpower, fuel, rising fuel prices, instability, and power outages, which affected the water supply. The harvest of wheat was postponed in the provinces of Daraa, Homs and Hama and in the suburbs of Damascus. The greatest risk of loss of part of the crop has remained constant.

“Despite the fact that the economic consequences of such losses are very serious, the consequences for the people are much more threatening,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Emergency Coordinator for Syria. “The consequences of these huge losses will affect in the first place and most acutely the poorest people in the country. Their life is getting harder day by day,” he added.

Many Syrians have preferred to flee from the war to neighboring countries. At present, more than 2 million inhabitants have left Syria, most of whom found refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. They live in refugee camps arranged in the border areas. But there are not enough place and food for everyone; there is no work either. Under the circumstances, people are forced into begging, theft and prostitution.

If the armed stand-off does not end soon, millions of people will remain defenceless to the threat of a humanitarian crisis. Moreover, the cease-fire alone is not enough. To organize a social assistance system, the well-functioning state structures are needed, but at a time when the opposition rejects any interaction with the regime, the situation becomes deadlocked.

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