The Syrian conflict, now in its eighth year, has had a devastating impact on the country’s population and infrastructure. Although accurate data are difficult to the get, it is estimated that over 5.6 million people have fled the country, while inside Syria over 6 million people have been displaced and over 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The displacement crisis in Syria is largely urban: the vast majority of IDPs live in host communities in the country’s towns and cities, many of which have suffered widespread damage. Displacement patterns are complex, with large-scale movements taking place within as well as between urban areas.
Our support for the humanitarian response in the country began in 2015, when OCHA on behalf of the Whole of Syria Cluster Coordination System, the Syria Information Management and Assessment Working Group asked us to be part of the coordination unit of the Whole of Syria Assessment (WoSA), whose work was central to the development of the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO).
As a follow-up based on a new request received in late 2015, we also carried out several missions to support the collection and analysis of data on urban populations to provide an evidence base for the 2017 HNO. Currently we are working as part of the Urban Analysis Network Syria (UrbAN-S) to gather the holistic information and analysis needed for better planning, targeting and monitoring of interventions in the country’s towns and cities.