Syria: REACH rapid assessment in Hasakeh highlights displacement trends and priority needs

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Hasakeh displacement mapOn 18th August, airstrikes on Hasakeh city began for the first time since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, alongside increased clashes inside the city. Although airstrikes subsided after three days, clashes continued, triggering mass displacement of an estimated 70,000 people.

On 22-23 August, REACH teams have conducted a rapid assessment in locations outside of Hasakeh sub-district which have experienced an influx of IDPs, to provide timely information on displacement patterns and profiles, humanitarian assistance, as well as priority needs overview. Information presented was collected by REACH staff in Syria through qualitative interviews with 61 Key Informants (KIs) residing in affected areas in the governorate.

While the common IDP profile type is married couple with children, an estimated 50% of recent IDPs are children. Initial estimates suggest that whilst around 40,000 are displaced within Hasakeh sub-district, around 25-30,000 have been displaced to elsewhere in the governorate along three primary routes: northwest to Tal Tamer and Ras al Ain, north to Darbasiyah and Amuda, and northeast to Tal Brak and Qamishli. There are also reports of small numbers of people heading east to Hole and further northeast to Malikeyyeh.

Push factors primarily include escalation of conflict and the deteriorating security situation in Hasakeh city – specifically due to fear of shelling – with reduced access to food reported as a secondary reason. Pull factors for IDPs to displacement areas are primarily access to shelter and the presence of relatives and friends, security, and access to food. At the time of the assessment, humanitarian aid had not reportedly been received by IDPs staying with family and friends in the host communities. However, there has been some assistance for IDPs residing in collective shelters in some northern and northeastern communities, from local authorities, as well as local and international NGOs.

The current displacement is perceived as a short term displacement by affected populations, Within this context, their reported priority needs are access to food and NFIs, especially in the case of IDPs residing in collective shelters, access to healthcare and shelter; and Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), with the most pressing need being improved access to water and an increased number of latrines and showers.

At the time of writing (25th August), IDPs had reportedly begun to return to Hasakeh city from all locations of displacement, following a ceasefire agreement and cessation of conflict on 23rd August, although others were reportedly waiting to ensure that the situation has stabilised. If the ceasefire is respected and the situation normalises, it is likely that returns will continue. REACH will continue monitoring the situation over the coming days to continue informing aid actors on displacement trends and needs.

REACH Hasakeh situation overview can be found on this link.