47 NGOs in Joint Statement: Earthquake one month on: Funding falls short of huge needs in Syria
One month after the devastating earthquakes struck southern Türkiye and Syria, the needs of the affected populations remain immense. Both Türkiye and Syria have sustained extensive damage, with the extent of misery inflicted upon the people living in each of the countries requiring international support that corresponds to the scale of the disaster.
Aid organisations serving vulnerable populations in Syria are alarmed about the lack of adequate funding allotted to the humanitarian response that followed the disaster on February 6th. With 8.8 million people affected in Syria according to the UN, subsidy has fallen far short of the rising needs on the ground.
Additionally, Syria has been suffering from over a decade of war and a humanitarian emergency that was significantly underfunded as needs have grown higher than at any point in the conflict - according to the latest Syria Humanitarian Needs Overview, 15.3 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance.
Despite this, the funding for the humanitarian response in Syria has been lagging. Now, the Syria Earthquake Flash Appeal is only 52% pledged, while only a third of the $206m pledged has been obligated to partners and is available for response.
We, a group of 47 Syrian and international NGOs who have been providing humanitarian response in Syria for years, are stressing to donors they must focus on the plight of Syrians and commit to providing immediate assistance to the thousands of people in need by supporting more largely the humanitarian actors. They must consider the ongoing humanitarian response in Syria, and the long-term needs resulting from the earthquake, which have intensified the pre-existing humanitarian and economic crises.
In the wake of the earthquakes, many donor governments have responded by making funds available for earthquake response related emergency activities. However, some of these funds have been redirected from existing funding to the ongoing Syria humanitarian response. This will leave several of the existing urgent needs neglected and have a severe impact on our relationship with the communities and the trust we have built over the years. NGOs urge donors not to merely redirect, but to provide additional and more flexible funds to address the enormous deficits in services across needs.
Despite the prompt action taken by NGOs, especially Syrian NGOs, to expand services with existing resources, organizations responding inside Syria cannot keep providing the necessary support without new funds being released immediately. However, Syrian NGOs are disproportionately neglected in funding allocations despite providing the bulk of the response in Syria whether directly or as partners of the UN and INGOs. Both pooled funds and direct bilateral funding with longer-term guarantees should be made available to national NGOs operating in Syria. Without this, populations who have already lost their homes, businesses, and belongings will be pushed further into extreme poverty.
Additionally, donors must strive to end short-term financing in the region and instead invest in long-term recovery that would provide shelter, food, water and sanitation, protection, healthcare, education, and livelihoods opportunities for displaced people who have consistently struggled for the past decade.
The undersigned NGOs call on all parties to ensure that aid for the Syrian people is not politicized. The NGOs urgently call for increased international support to the response in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation in Syria. This disaster knows no borders or politics, and the support for the people of Syria should not either.