The first rapid needs assessment made by our staff in Syria reveals that 100 percent of respondents need hygiene products, 71 percent need food



Post-traumatic stress conditions widespread among women, men and children. Together with vast and growing basic material needs. This is what emerges from the first rapid needs assessment conducted by our staff in the areas of Syria affected by the 6 February earthquake in which we operate. In the face of wintry weather conditions, with temperatures often below zero, the chronic lack of electricity (which in some areas is not available for more than an hour a day) and heating systems weighs heavily. 70 percent of the people surveyed express an urgent need for winter clothing and cooking utensils, and 60 per cent require blankets.


Regarding access to health services, in an area where the health system was already extremely fragile after twelve years of conflict and humanitarian crisis, 87% are not able to access or have significantly limited access to secondary health care while 75% lament the lack of essential medicines. Access to water and sanitation is another main concern in an area, as it is always worth remembering, already affected by a prolonged cholera outbreak. One hundred percent of the responders require hygiene kits and 56% accessible toilets and latrines. Moreover, the disruption caused by the earthquake influenced the food market and 100% of the people interviewed reported big changes in prices while 71% reported that the shock reduced their ability to produce or purchase food.


The initial first aid intervention is complemented by psychological support


As the magnitude of the immediate impact and the longer-term consequences of the earthquake is becoming increasingly evident, INTERSOS is working on scaling up its operational response. Based on the information collected directly from the populations affected by the earthquake, as well as on the observations provided by the INTERSOS teams assessing the different locations, we will expand the initial first aid intervention, with the deployment of four mobile medical teams in Hama Governorate and Southern Idlib, to a more holistic approach. We will continue assessing remote areas, as they are less served by humanitarian assistance, as well as the conditions of buildings designated as temporary shelters. As we observe an extreme need for material assistance, we are purchasing, collecting and distributing essential NFIs, including winter, hygiene, and dignity kits. We will keep ensuring that static and mobile medical units can provide effective care, by supporting them with the provision of pharmaceuticals, consumables, and medical equipment. We aim at addressing the widespread psychological distress with the provision of psychological first aid and psychological counseling to those who have been directly affected by the natural disaster.


“What we are facing is a sudden onset emergency, provoked by a large-scale natural disaster, that is evolving into a longer-term crisis, with severe consequences on the affected population – Martin Rosselot, INTERSOS’ Regional Director for the Middle East, underlines – we must commit to ensure the continuity of our humanitarian support and keep informing the public opinion, advocating not forget about the needs of the population after the first emotional response. We must stay and deliver, there is, and there will be, a lot to do for humanitarian workers on the frontline to save human lives and prevent further suffering”.