Northeast Syria: challenging winter months for IDPs and refugees living in camps

January 12, 2018

REACH data collection teams in Ein Issa Extension camp, Ar-Raqqa governorate. © IMPACT/2017

REACH data collection teams in Ein Issa Extension camp, Ar-Raqqa governorate. © REACH/ 2017

Since the escalation of conflict in Northeast Syria in November 2016, an estimated 570,000 people have been displaced from Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa governorates [1]. Whilst large numbers have returned to their areas of origin or are staying in host communities in Northeast Syria, there are still approximately 70,000 IDPs residing in large-scale managed IDP and transit camps in Al-Hasakeh and Ar-Raqqa governorates. Additionally, refugees from Iraq have resided in camps in Al-Hasakeh governorate since 2014. The population of these camps has fluctuated since the onset of the crisis, and security and access challenges have led to a lack of detailed household-level information and service delivery.

In order to address the information gaps and highlight key humanitarian needs within the camps, REACH has conducted the first in a series of multisector needs assessments aiming to assess IDP and refugee populations. Between 15 November and 4 December 2017, REACH collected data in seven managed camps and one informal settlement through household-level surveys with camp residents and interviews with camp management.

Overall, the assessment found that although some form of assistance is being provided in all camps, households in particular locations often face difficulties in meeting their basic needs. In terms of access to food, findings underline that a majority of camp populations are receiving food assistance in the form of bread distributions and dry food rations. However, a high proportion of assessed households reported a widespread use of consumption-based coping strategies, especially in Newroz camp with 80% of residents reportedly using a coping strategy.

Furthermore, camp residents reported being unprepared for winter weather conditions, with households reporting an absence of winterization items such as blankets and heaters, and a lack of adequate shelter insulation. Heating fuel was consistently among the most needed non-food items in all camps. For example, 69% of Mabruka camp residents reported heating fuel as an essential need.

REACH assessment also highlights that education is a key area of concern. Educational services were reported severely limited in most camps, where the lack of formal education facilities has led to low attendance rates, particularly amongst older students.

[1] UN OCHA, Syria Crisis: Northeast Syria, Situation Report 19, 10 December 2017

Access REACH’s Northeast Syria Camp Profiling at these links: Al Hol, Areesheh, Ein Issa ExtensionEin IssaMabrukaNewrozRojTwah.