Amid skyrocketing prices | The number of relief projects by humanitarian organisations in Idlib declines greatly • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Amid skyrocketing prices | The number of relief projects by humanitarian organisations in Idlib declines greatly

Areas in north-west Syria region, particularly Idlib city and countryside, have experienced a noticeable decline in the activities of humanitarian organisations and charitable associations this Ramadan, including distribution of Iftar meals, food baskets and meat and setting “Mawa’ed Al-Rahman” (tables spread with food provided for free to the poor and passers-by, and these tables are set outdoors during Ramadan, at the time of Iftar), unlike previous years.

 

Displaced people in refugee camps in Idlib countryside have complained of the lack of such charitable activities and projects to help them to bear the costs of living during Ramadan, especially with the prohibitively high prices of food and basic products with prices of meat and some vegetables having reached levels unaffordable by the many.

 

Speaking to SOHR, a 75-year-old man known by his initials as K. Y. from the northern countryside of Hama and living with his wife, one of his sons and his son’s family in a camp in Armanaz area in the northern countryside of Idlib says, “since the beginning of Ramadan, the camp has not witnessed any activities by the humanitarian organisations and charity associations operating in the region, where no food baskets or meals have been distributed so far.

 

The successive increases in prices have exhausted displaced people in refugee camps. A family needs nearly 100 TL a day to pay for essentials at a time when most of the displaced families have no sources of income and incur debts or depend on assistance and money sent by their relatives who live abroad. Such charitable projects and activities had helped displaced people to cope with the living crisis during Ramadan.”

 

The old man has expressed his sorrow for the current dreadful living conditions in north Syria, including the extreme poverty of most of the families, and he has confirmed that he knows some families who were not able to secure even vegetables for Iftar meal, and that they depended only some food supplies they had, such as rice. The man adds that refugee camps are in urgent need for a large support, mainly distribution of food baskets and money, especially during Ramadan.

 

An official responsible for a team of volunteers in north Idlib countryside known as A. M. has told SOHR “of course there is noticeable decline in the number of projects by humanitarian organisations this Ramadan. However, there are several reasons behind this decline, the most prominent of which is the corruption of officials of these organisations. The region’s organisations have suspended distribution of cooked meals and setting of “Mawa’ed Al-Rahman” in order to avoid thefts and embezzlement by officials responsible for such projects. The real cost of the distributed cooked meals has been much less than the sums of money which organisations give to their officials. Accordingly, some organisations turned to the distribution of raw meat on order to avoid such thefts.”

 

“There are some small teams of volunteers, like the one I manage, are still working in this field, but their role has been still limited. Meanwhile, the well-known organisations do not want to carry out such projects, although they are important for the displaced people and save them a lot of money, where a meal may cost 50 TL at least.” The official has called upon humanitarian organisations operating in the north Syria region to intensify their efforts to help civilians, including displaced families in refugee camps, so that they can bear the costs of living.

 

On the other hand, several residents in north Syria left posts and comments on social media in the past days, expressing their discontent over practices by some voluntary teams and charities whose officials filmed families, including women and children, while distributing meals. While every single meal was too small to be enough for a person, as the residents described. In addition, some organisations seem satisfied only with registering families in refugee camps without providing any support for them.

 

Since early Ramadan, north Syria region has been experiencing a stifling living crisis due to the ongoing inflation and unaffordable prices of vegetables, fruit, meat and food supplies, amid inaction by relevant authorities and bodies: the “Salvation Government” and organisations operating in the region, which do not provide the much needed support to the residents and displaced families.