Health centres overwhelmed, supplies cut off as fighting worsens in Syria

ByCARE Australia October 18, 2019 0 comments

The aid agency CARE is warning that humanitarian needs are continuing to rise in north-east Syria, as the conflict in the area deepens.

Civilians are escaping the fighting and sheltering with relatives, in public spaces, or in overcrowded camps. While health services in some areas have been disrupted due to violence, others are overwhelmed with emergency cases, as some 145 civilian casualties and more than 40 deaths are reported by the United Nations.

“We are witnessing an already dire humanitarian situation deteriorate by the day,” said Nirvana Shawky, CARE’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Most Syrians have already moved multiple times in this conflict, and are now looking for safety with only the clothing on their backs. The UN estimates currently suggest up to 400,000 people could be displaced and require urgent humanitarian assistance and protection.”

The escalation of fighting is disrupting lifesaving humanitarian aid to vulnerable people, as supplies are cut off and aid workers are either evacuated or themselves displaced. This is impacting aid delivery to the more than 700,000 people who were already displaced prior to the outbreak of fighting on 9 October.

“More than half of civilians in northeast Syria were in need of humanitarian assistance before the latest fighting began. We must ensure that all measures are taken to facilitate full, safe and unfettered access to men, women and children in need,” said Ms Shawky.

Aid agencies in Syria are already highly stretched and are facing another ongoing crisis in northwest Syria, with almost half a million people displaced since May. The international community must act urgently to avert a humanitarian crisis in northeast Syria.

For interviews with CARE spokespeople in the region or in Australia, contact Iona Salter on 0412 449 691 or


  • CARE is assisting vulnerable and displaced people in northeast Syria by providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. CARE is carrying out much-needed distributions of hygiene kits and winter clothes and providing psychosocial support, including psychological first aid to those immediately affected by the violence. CARE plans to reach 20,000 people in northeast Syria with lifesaving emergency assistance by the end of October.
  • CARE has been providing aid in Syria since 2014, and has reached more than 4.5 million people so far. Our work is focused on food security, livelihoods, women’s economic empowerment, shelter, water and sanitation, maternal and reproductive health support, and psychosocial support for people in crisis.

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries to reach 80 million people, including more than 11 million through emergency response and humanitarian aid.

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