- About Syria
In addition to the devastating human toll, the six years of conflict in Syria has had a disastrous effect on the country’s economy due to market collapse, inflation and currency depreciation, looting and destruction. A lack of cash and employment opportunities are major challenges faced by most of the 6.5 million internally displaced people of Syria – about 45 percent of the population - as well as many of the host communities. The result is that 85.2 per cent of the population had been plunged into poverty by the end of 2015, and over 50 per cent of the labour force has been pushed into unemployment. Approximately 2.3 million livelihoods have been lost so far due to the crisis. Many of the displaced have exhausted their savings and resorted to coping mechanisms that cause further harm over the long term, such as selling off assets and reduction in meals. A more detailed overview of the impact of the crisis can be found in the Confronting Fragmentation report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research and the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016
The Crisis in Syria
The appalling loss of life continues to be among the most horrific feature of the crisis – it is estimated that 11.5 per cent of the population inside Syria have been killed or injured due to the armed-conflict by the end of 2015. This human catastrophe reflected in the dramatic drop in life expectancy at birth from 70.5 years in 2010 to an estimated 55.4 years in 2015. Humanitarian needs are on the rise – at least 13.6 million Syrians are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
By the end of 2015, about 45 per cent of the population were displaced, leaving their homes to look for safer places to live or better living conditions elsewhere. Some 6.5 million persons from this population in- movement continue to live in Syria as IDPs, with many being displaced several times. The hollowing of the population has also resulted in 3.11 million refugees fleeing the country, and 1.17 million Syrians migrating to other countries [UNHCR].
Hundreds of hospitals and schools have been destroyed; many schools are only partially functional, and others are overcrowded, often doubling as shelters. The supply of electricity and water is unpredictable, and major roads are impassable due to destruction or fighting. National and local capacity to plan, develop and deliver basic services and to rehabilitate destroyed infrastructure has been severely weakened by the crisis. All of this has aggravated the socio-economic plight of the population.
Insecurity in parts of the country, shortage of jobs, services or infrastructure, the living conditions of Syrians and their livelihood prospects have eroded significantly, increasing their vulnerability and undermining their ability to cope with the crisis. The protracted nature of the crisis might signal further human, social, and material losses, depleting national human resources and crisis response capacities and mechanisms, and leading to further displacement.
From a human development perspective, the impact of the conflict has been catastrophic. The economic, social, and human capital of the country has been decimated, exposing present and future generations to underdevelopment and deep poverty.
Despite having achieved or being well under way to achieving major Millennium Development Goals targets (poverty reduction, primary education, and gender parity in secondary education, decrease in infant mortality rates and increasing access to improved sanitation) as of 2011, it is estimated that after the first four years of crisis Syria has dropped from 113th to 174th out of 187 countries ranked in the Human Development Index, sitting in the bottom tenth percentile globally. Recent assessments show that the Syrian human development indices have been rolled back 35 years since the conflict began.
The crisis has caused a drop in Syria’s Human Development Index (HDI) from 0.631 in 2010 to 0.443 by the end of 2015 putting it among the “low human development” country group. The crisis total GDP loss reached USD 163.3 billion. The education sector continues to face enormous difficulties with 45.2 per cent of school-age children no longer attending school during 2015-2016. The health index decreased by 30 per cent compared to 2010 which brought down the ranking of the health index in Syria, from 106th to 174th from 195 countries.