Syria: Healing visible and invisible wounds
15th March 2017 will mark the sixth anniversary of the Syrian crisis. Since 2011, more than 300,000 Syrians have died and one million have been injured. Close to 5 million people have fled Syria. Inside the country, 6.5 million have been internally displaced and 13.5 million people currently need humanitarian assistance. Handicap International has been providing assistance to the Syrian people since the start of the crisis and has been carrying out activities in Syria itself for the past four years.
@ Armelle Toucour
Handicap International has been working with partners inside Syria to assist conflict-affected people since January 2013. One of the organisation’s top priorities is to provide them with adapted rehabilitation services.
Since the organisation launched its operations in the country, its main aim has been to provide tens of thousands of Syrians with physiotherapy care, to fit them with prostheses and ortheses, and to provide mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and walking frames, to injured and disabled people.
Handicap International also runs psychological support activities.
“People who are still in Syria have lived through more than five years of war, a highly traumatic experience”, explains Mélanie Broquet, who monitors and coordinates Handicap International’s programmes in Syria.
“These people need to be able to talk about it if they feel the need. They should not be left to face their pain on their own. Their psychological well-being is just as important as their physical health in circumstances like these.”
Protecting people from explosive remnants of war
In addition to providing care and treatment for people’s visible and invisible wounds, Handicap International also organises risk education sessions on mines and other explosive devices, to protect them from the risks of remnants of war.
The aim of this activity is to raise their awareness of the dangers and impact of the conventional weapons widely used in Syria since the start of the conflict. The more aware Syrians are of the dangers, the more able they will be to protect themselves. More than 300,000 Syrians have already benefited from these sessions since Handicap International launched its operations in the country.
To expand our humanitarian assistance to the population, Handicap International and its local partners also regularly distribute food and essential equipment such as blankets, mattresses and cooking utensils to the people worst-affected by the conflict. Handicap International also provides training and support to other humanitarian actors, to ensure that people with disabilities, older people and other vulnerable people are not excluded from the relief effort.
As part of its humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, Handicap International also runs similar activities for refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
Handicap International and the Syrian crisis
More than 550,000 people have benefited from Handicap International’s actions since it launched its Syria crisis operations in 2012. The organisation provides physical rehabilitation services and psychological support, and distributes emergency aid to meet the basic needs of casualties, people with disabilities and particularly vulnerable individuals. Handicap International also spreads awareness-raising and safety messages targeted at local populations to prevent accidents caused by explosive remnants of war.