Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Conflict & insecurity

A woman arrives at a health centre somewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was raped a few days ago. She does not feel well, she has pelvic pain and she fears she might be pregnant. While admitting her, the consultant asks her a series of questions: Where are you from? What religion are you? What ethnic group do you belong to? What do you do for a living? Do you have any children? Are you married? What happened? When? How? Who did it? What ethnic group did they belong to? How many of them were there? Can…
The humanitarian situation in Syria has dramatically deteriorated since the onset of the conflict in March 2011. Fighting across large parts of the country has led to massive and repeated internal displacement and mounting refugee outflows. Over 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict began. An estimated 6.8 million people in Syria, or almost one-third of the entire population, now require humanitarian assistance, including 4.25m internally displaced people. About 3.1m, or some 50% of those who require assistance, are children. Restricted humanitarian access inside Syria means that limited information is available to humanitarian decision-makers on the child protection needs…
In mid-2012, 18 months into the crisis in Syria, most actors agreed that the picture of the humanitarian situation was incoherent and fragmented: displacement flows, the scope and depth of humanitarian needs and the longer-term impact on infrastructure and livelihoods were largely unknown. Much of the problem revolved around the sensitivities associated with gathering and sharing information on the affected population and restricted access to the field. In neighbouring countries hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, responses diverged and were not based on a coordinated and harmonised needs analysis. The Syria Needs Analysis Project (SNAP) was established in December 2012…
In the first week of March 2011, a group of schoolboys in the rural Syrian village of Dara’a were imprisoned for graffiti, after spray-painting the walls of a school with a common slogan of the Arab uprisings, ‘The people want to topple the regime’.[1] This event sparked anti-government demonstrations that would soon spread throughout the country. The ensuing conflict between government and rebel forces, which is now in its third year, has forced over two million Syrians to seek refuge abroad, principally in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, and further afield in Egypt. The relentless pace…
Organisers of anti-government protests in Syria were rapidly forced underground by the state’s heavy security response. The networks and techniques that activists had honed to stage demonstrations, evading pervasive government surveillance, interference, detention and assault, were soon put to use in delivering a wide range of humanitarian and social support. This article focuses on the emergence, function and structure of these hybrid networks, particularly in Damascus, taking into consideration the repressive security conditions they operated in, the significance of such networks from the perspective of the regime and the implications for the social fabric of Syria overall. These networks changed…
A British-Syrian doctor on diaspora-led medical relief efforts, neutrality and humanitarian access in Syria ‘It’s been very difficult’, acknowledges Dr Nizar Hammodeh of the Union des Organisations Syriennes de Secours Médicaux (UOSSM) [Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations], a medical relief organisation founded by health professionals in the Syrian diaspora. ‘Hopefully it will improve soon.’ For many humanitarians working long hours is second nature, whether driven by the humanitarian imperative, personal belief or sheer will. But Dr Nizar’s drive to dedicate himself to the humanitarian response in Syria is all the more pronounced as it is his people who are…
Islamic Relief is one of the few humanitarian organisations working cross-border to deliver aid in response to the deepening crisis in Syria. The conflict in the country has killed tens of thousands of people, and has driven over 1.5 million across its borders. For those still inside the country, needs are increasingly acute as conditions continue to deteriorate. It is estimated that over six million people are in need inside Syria. Islamic Relief staff have seen for themselves the horrific situation inside Syria. Millions are thought to be in dire need of food, water and sanitation. In the countries that…
A political or military solution to stop the carnage in Syria seems as remote as ever. The war seems only to bring even worse depths of human suffering and diplomatic impotence. Syrian civilians are in a state, not just of terror, but of horror – hostages in a geopolitical, ideological and sectarian catastrophe. On the face of it, getting humanitarian assistance to the millions affected should be easier to deal with than the political and military mess. In the space of two years, a major relief operation within Syria has indeed come to life despite the extreme circumstances. But these…
Trade has been the lifeblood of the economy of the greater Darfur region for centuries. This includes longdistance trade between Darfur and neighbouring countries and central Sudan in commodities such as livestock, gum arabic and cereals. It also includes trade within Darfur, often between livelihood groups whose livelihood strategies depend upon one another, for example trade between agriculturalists and pastoralists. Indeed, prior to the start of the current conflict in 2003 markets in Darfur were a key point of connection for Darfurians and for many others who did business within these markets, and an important factor in building social ties.…
Ten years of conflict in Darfur between the Sudanese government and an array of rebel groups and militias have caused a humanitarian emergency. In the early stages of the conflict, between 2004 and 2009, some two dozen agencies provided ‘cross-line’ humanitarian assistance in territory controlled by rebel movements. Although urgent humanitarian needs persist in these areas, by 2011 all cross-line aid had stopped. This article explores the issues around humanitarian access to rebel and contested areas in Darfur, and analyses the reasons why such assistance has come to an end, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need. The…
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