Austrian Contribution to UNICEF Syria program 2020 - focus Covid-19
This project implemented by UNICEF will contribute to the prevention measures for COVID-19 in North-West Syria (NWS) by promoting appropriate social/physical distancing and hygiene behaviors, improving Infection and Prevention Control (IPC) through water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services, as well as improving enabling environment with appropriate humanitarian WASH services for conflict-affected children and families.
Under the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Response, UNICEF aims to achieve following key results:
Result 1: At least 6,000,000 affected people in informal camps, IDP centers, collective shelters, and host communities served with life-saving WASH services and supplies (800,000 in North-West Syria).
Result 2: At least 5,000,000 IDPs and host communities are served with appropriate water and sanitation services.
Result 3: At least 2,800,000 people are reached with messaging on COVID-19 prevention and access to services.
In line with UNICEF's Humanitarian Action for Children 2020 and the UNICEF Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Response Plan Austria's contribution to UNICEF of EUR 1,657,200 could reach up to 150,000 conflict-affected people (including over 63,000 children and 43,848 woman) with life-saving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services and supplies, and prevention measures on COVID-19.
UNICEF has a hub in Gaziantep covering the Syria cross-border operation into the North-West of Syria. UNICEF works with several Syrian NGOs and International NGOs operating in North-West Syria from Turkey. The project activities will be implemented in North-West Syria covering both Aleppo and Idleb governorates.
The UNICEF WASH strategy in North-West Syria is to mainstream COVID-19 response within all ongoing and upcoming WASH programs. Activities may include: 1) Emergency life-saving WASH response for displaced populations including water trucking, water disinfection, construction and maintenance of emergency latrines and distribution of hygiene kits (with doubled quantity of soap for handwashing and detergent for cleaning clothes); 2) Implementation of water safety planning in both water distribution systems and distribution through water trucking. Increased attention to safe collection treatment and storage at household level, apart from water quality monitoring. 3) Restoration of WASH infrastructure to increase resilience of IDP host communities, e.g. repair of damaged water pipes, rehabilitation of ground water wells, and repair of damaged electro-mechanical equipment’s in pumping stations. 4) Hygiene and sanitation promotion in areas densely populated by IDPs, e.g. through hygiene promotion campaigns, garbage clean ups in IDP camps, provision of soap and essential hygiene items in respecting social distancing measure. 5) Provision of enhanced WASH services within health facilities and intensified behavioral change communication using community mobilizers and community health Workers, 6) Training of healthcare facility staff and community health workers in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
The humanitarian situation for people remains alarming across North-West Syria. While active hostilities came to a halt in early March, the impact of recent military operations as well as multiple displacements, economic hardship and years of conflict continue to affect the lives of civilians. Of the nearly 1 million people in the area who fled their homes to escape from hostilities between December 2019 and early March 2020, some 854,000 people reportedly remain in displacement, a figure comprising many vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, and female- or child-headed households. Though displacement has largely stopped, the humanitarian needs of the people who have been displaced and the pre-existing needs of the wider community remain extremely high. The most urgent needs of the recently displaced individuals continue to be shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, food and protection. Concurrently, as the displaced population begins to settle in, needs with longer term impacts are increasing in prominence, such as health, nutrition and education services. Additional needs have also arisen considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living in North-West Syria, on local health systems but also in terms of WASH actors and programs since appropriate water, hygiene and sanitation supplies and services are a key component in the prevention of the disease spreading.