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Almost three-quarters of displaced Syrians surveyed in Aleppo say they are having to skip a meal every day since the earthquake


Three out of every four people in Aleppo have had to reduce daily meals since the earthquake and near all of them say they have taken on extra debt or their children out of school in order to cope, says Oxfam.

Oxfam surveyed 300 people displaced in Aleppo, and living in collective shelters, in the lead-up to Ramadan. It found that many have nothing left after the earthquake and from the effects of 12 years of conflict. Many told Oxfam they had used up their last resources. Ninety percent say there are unable to make any plans to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. Across the entire country, four in ten Syrians – or nearly 9 million people – were affected by the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that hit last month, compounding an already acute humanitarian crisis. 

“People who have been made homeless by the quake have been forced to rely on harsh coping mechanisms to survive and they will face a tough and uncertain Ramadan,” said Moutaz Adham, Oxfam Syria country director. “The data is stark and gravely concerning. People told us the earthquake has pushed them over the edge.  For almost all families we talked to, this was at least the second time they had been forced out of their homes over the years of conflict. Almost half of them are now spending the vast majority of their income on food, leaving very little to cover all their other basic needs.” 

Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said their homes had been partially destroyed. More than 65 percent said they were relying on aid from NGOs to survive. Twenty-two percent had lost their jobs or sources of income and 37 percent had borrowed money to cover their families’ needs.

“Syrians have faced too many shocks for too long. It will be months, even years, before those who have lost everything after this latest disaster can rebuild their lives,” said Adham. “Either from fleeing the conflict, the impacts of the earthquake or both, Syrians just want to live with dignity and look towards a future with hope. This earthquake, on top of 12 years of war, has devastated millions of people who were already having to live a hand-to-mouth existence.” 

“Before the quake, we only got to eat one meal a day, but at least we had a roof over our heads,” Jaydaa, from Aleppo, told Oxfam.  “Now we are left behind in a small tent to fend for ourselves against hunger and freezing temperatures at night.”   

Oxfam has delivered clean drinking water to 46 locations and installed 40 water tanks in shelters, and distributed over 2,250 hygiene kits including soap and sanitary pads. We are also fixing taps and toilets in shelters and supporting safety checks to buildings.

“Syrians need support both to deal with the immediate devastation of the earthquake and to recover from the impacts of 12 years of conflict. We cannot allow Syrians to face another Ramadan like this,” said Adham.

Notes to editors: 

Oxfam interviewed 300 displaced people in government-held areas of Aleppo between March 2 and 8, and asked about how the earthquake has impacted their lives.

Oxfam is providing people impacted by the earthquake with clean drinking water. Oxfam teams are also installing water tanks in shelters, and fixing water taps and toilets. We are also delivering hygiene kits (including soap, sanitary pads, and diapers), so people can live with dignity. We have supported safety checks for damaged buildings, so families could return home. Oxfam aims to reach 800,000 of the most impacted people over the coming three years with lifesaving aid.

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