Syria: Oxfam, 80% under poverty threshold after 8-year war

Campaign 'Water saves lives' to help 100,000 people

12 March, 13:43

    Syria: Oxfam, 80% under poverty threshold after 8-year war Syria: Oxfam, 80% under poverty threshold after 8-year war

    ROME - On the eve of the eighth anniversary of the start of the Syrian crisis, Oxfam said in a statement that the international community is confronted with one of ''the most serious humanitarian emergencies'' since World War Two.

    ''Over 80% of the population is living under the poverty threshold'' and ''11.7 million people at the moment depend on humanitarian aid'' for survival, the statement also said.

    The situation was denounced in a new report published on Tuesday by Oxfam and the Danish Refugee Council (RDC) to coincide with a conference on the Syrian crisis scheduled in Brussels on March 12-14.

    One of the most alarming issues stressed by the report is that 85% of Syrians, or 15.5 million people out of a total of 18.2, have almost no access to clean water and healthcare services, including 6 million people who are in a dire situation.

    With the fundraising campaign 'Water saves lives', Oxfam means to help over 100,000 people by bringing clean water and healthcare services to the most vulnerable communities in Syria, in the governorates of Rural Damascus and Dar'a, where half the population is displaced and 1.6 million people are in dire need of aid.

    Paolo Pezzati, the policy advisor for humanitarian emergencies of Oxfam Italia, said that ''at the moment over one-third of Syrians in the country have lost their homes and two million children cannot study because one in three schools has been destroyed''.

    ''Entire neighborhoods in small and large cities have no water and hygienic services''.

    It is a ''terrifying scenario that requires intervention as soon as possible to prevent cholera and typhus epidemics''.

    Despite the growing needs of the population, governments and other donors are reluctant to finance reconstruction efforts in areas under the Syrian government's control. As a consequence, millions of Syrians are forced to rely on humanitarian aid for an indefinite period of time, the organization said in its appeal on donor countries.

    Pezzati in particular said that, ''concrete and immediate economic aid'' by governments gathering in Brussels is ''fundamental to help millions of Syrians'' who have endured ''eight years of brutal war rebuild their lives''.

    ''The primary objective must be to help the population affected by the emergency to have a home once again, to send their children back to school and to guarantee they have a decent meal every day, avoiding the risk of diseases due to dirty or contaminated water or the lack of adequate healthcare facilities''.

    ''Syrians need to be helped to rebuild their future as fast as possible'', he concluded. ''Meanwhile, it is indispensable for the Syrian government to give humanitarian agencies access to all areas affected by the conflict, where the population is in dire condition''.

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