EU and IFRC support people affected by the water crisis and drought in Syria

Due to the extreme drought, millions of Syrians are in higher risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.

A woman in Syria carries a bucket of water on her head in the middle of the water crisis. Since January 2021, Syria has been witnessing extreme drought, putting millions of Syrians are in higher risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.

Photo: Syrian Arab Red Crescent

Damascus, 3 December 2021 – In response to the severe water crisis and drought in Syria, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 748,000 CHF (709,000 EUR) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.

The European Union is providing CHF 158.000 (150,000 EUR) in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected people. The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The funds released to the IFRC will help the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) cater to the humanitarian needs of 15,000 people with food and health interventions over six months in Al Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor, which are some of the most affected localities.

Since January 2021, Syria has been witnessing extreme drought conditions coupled with unprecedented low water levels of the Euphrates River leading to poor agricultural production and loss of livelihoods. Millions of people are now experiencing worsening food insecurity and increasing malnutrition rates.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and community health promoters will distribute food parcels and engage in hygiene promotion and disease prevention through awareness-raising about waterborne diseases and COVID-19.

Background

Through the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the European Union provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.

The European Union is signatory to a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF.  For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and EU humanitarian aid enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.

For more information, please contact:

Rana Sidani Cassou, Head of Communications – IFRC MENA: Mobile +41766715751 / +33675945515 [email protected] 

Anouk Delafortrie, Regional Information Officer – European Humanitarian Aid MENA: Mobile +962 777 57 0203 [email protected]