The humanitarian situation in the Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria is dire. More than 74,000 people are now living in the camp. The camp’s population has increased dramatically in the last four months alone, from around 10,000 people. The majority (92%) are women and children, and 65% are under 18. Over 120 children have died either on the way to or in the camp.
‘Many people have fled from hostilities and are injured, ill, severely malnourished or traumatised. Healthcare needs now far outstrip the capacity to respond. Norway’s contribution will make it possible to significantly scale up health efforts in the area, particularly the treatment of war injuries and trauma. This includes specialist treatment for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence,’ Ms. Søreide said.
Representatives of the Norwegian Red Cross have been in the area recently, together with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to assess the health situation and ways to rapidly scale up the health response. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is already running a number of mobile health clinics in the Al Hol camp, but capacity is limited. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received an application for additional funding this week, and this new contribution will come in addition to the funding Norway has provided over several years to support the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s humanitarian efforts in Syria, in areas such as education, water and sanitation. In 2018, Norway provided NOK 180 million to support the work of the Norwegian Red Cross and the ICRC in Syria.
Norway also supports other humanitarian actors working in the Al Hol camp and in other camps in Syria. In the period 2016-2019, Norway provided a total of NOK 10 billion in aid to Syria and its neighbouring countries.