The Syria crisis is rapidly spiralling out of control, leaving relief agencies overstretched and struggling to cope with a massive surge in refugee numbers and with promised funds yet to arrive on the ground, warns international agency Oxfam. In light of this, Oxfam has declared Category 1 crisis for Syria and is expanding its response in Lebanon and Jordan, the two primary host countries. We now seek to raise HK$800,000 in Hong Kong to support the Oxfam global operation in response to the crisis, which aims to reach at least 10 per cent of the affected population – some 400,000 people.
The total number of registered refugees and individuals awaiting registration has now reached more than one million – a steep increase from about 475,500 registered refugees in January 2013. This figure may not reflect the actual number due to the reticence of the refugees in registering and their desire to remain anonymous. It is estimated that around 5,000 people are fleeing Syria every day. The growing exodus is a sign of the ferocity of the violence in Syria.
Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt are host countries for the refugees at present. However, the situation of the refugees arriving in Lebanon and Jordan is becoming more and more precarious, with many of them being displaced internally since the beginning of the conflict now arriving into the neighbouring countries with limited or no resources. The refugees are struggling to cover their basic needs, particularly shelter, food and water. The dramatic increase of refugees has also put significant strain on the host countries.
In response to the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria and the growing needs of the refugees, Oxfam has declared Category 1 crisis for Syria (including Lebanon and Jordan) which is the highest priority within the organisation. Oxfam has scaled up its emergency response, seeking approximately US$31 million (HK$248 million), but so far only 25 per cent, US$7.8 million (HK$62.4 million), has been secured.
The agency is expanding its response in Lebanon and Jordan with an aim to ensure that refugees have enough food, can afford shelter, and have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services. Specifically, Oxfam aims to:
- Protect the lives of people who have escaped from violence and are now at risk due to the lack of basics amenities and shelter;
- Help refugees protect their dignity by giving them choice and control over cash transfers and through involving them in the design, delivery and monitoring of the humanitarian response;
- Prevent refugees from having to return to the conflict zone or resort to dangerous coping strategies just because they cannot afford shelter.
Oxfam started to provide food and hygiene equipment to 8,500 refugees in Lebanon and Jordan back in May 2012. We also trained local organisations in Lebanon to boost their capacity in humanitarian response. Since January 2013, Oxfam has reached more than 60,000 refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. In Jordan, we have been building toilets, showers and laundry areas for over 11,000 people in the Zaatari camp and we will be building a new water system supplying safe water to all 90,000 residents in the camp. In Lebanon, Oxfam and its local partners have been distributing warm clothes, mattresses, blankets, heaters, rugs, kitchen utensils, hygiene kits and plastic sheets for weather proofing.
While focusing on scaling up our response in Lebanon and Jordan, Oxfam is exploring options to reach some of the people in need of humanitarian assistance within Syria. While the crisis has had a high media profile, it has been extremely difficult for Oxfam and other international organisations to secure safe access to help protect the lives and livelihoods of people who have lost everything inside Syria.
The crisis that has been going on for two years is politically sensitive regionally and internationally with division between those supporting the Syrian Regime and those opposing. The conflict is now starting to show signs of creating instability in Lebanon as well, with the recent uncertainties within the government, protests for and against Syria, attacks on civilians arriving and with Hezbollah supporting the Syrian Regime.
Donations can be transferred to the various bank accounts of Oxfam Hong Kong.
Details as follows:
Bank of China: 012-874-0-013040-1
Banco Weng Hang:
For more information on other donation methods, please visit:
Oxfam is dedicated to fighting poverty and inequity worldwide. The international and independent development and humanitarian organisation tackles poverty in four main ways: sustainable development in poor communities, disaster relief, local, national and global advocacy, and education with Hong Kong youth. Established in Hong Kong in 1976, Oxfam Hong Kong is a founding member of Oxfam, an international confederation that has assisted poor people in 94 countries. Oxfam Hong Kong alone has supported poor people in over 70 countries/regions.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Oxfam Hong Kong Communications Officer
Tel: 3120 5201/ 6749 6230