Background. Five years of conflict in Syria have led to 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and 6.6 million internally displaced people. Humanitarian needs are ever-increasing as an inability to maintain humanitarian corridors and ceasefires continue. In light of the protracted nature of the conflict, immense needs, and dearth of large-scale data, we undertook this assessment to inform humanitarian response.
Methods. A survey of accessible areas, which were largely urban and government controlled, was undertaken from April – June 2016 to identify unmet needs and assistance priorities. A cluster design with probability sampling was used to attain a final sample of 2,405 households from ten of fourteen governorates; 31 of 65 (47.7%) districts were included that are home to 38.1% of people in need (PiN).
Results. Overall 45% of households received assistance in the preceding month; receipt of aid was lowest in al-Hasakeh (17%). Shelter was a concern, with 48% of households having shelter need(s); the unmet shelter needs were highest in the West Coast, Rif Damascus and al-Hasakeh. Food security was a major concern where 64% had unmet food needs and 65% at least one indicator of concern; food insecurity was most severe in Rif Damascus and the West Coast. Water was also a concern with 36% of households reporting inconsistent access and 48% no access to water for several day periods; water needs were highest in Aleppo.
Discussion. This assessment included accessible populations in predominantly urban and government controlled areas, which are likely to have better access to services and fewer needs than populations in rural locations or areas not controlled by the government. The humanitarian situation in inaccessible and non-government controlled areas is likely to be considerably worse, thus findings should not be generalized. An expanded humanitarian response is desperately needed for Syrians to better endure the conflict.