After three years in Lebanon, now COOPI is also near to the homeless in Syria
Six years have passed since the beginning of the crisis in Syria and the situation is still considered as of humanitarian emergency. So far the Syrian crisis has claimed 400.000 victims and more than 12 Million people have abandoned their homes and lives in Syria.
There are about 1 Million refugees in Europe, 4.8 Million refugees in neighboring countries and around 6.6 Million internally displaced people, living in precarious conditions regarding basic necessities: first of all, the safety of food. In particular the district of Damascus is in third place of having the necessity of alimentary support and it is in second place after Aleppo for people in need of assistance.
The first project of aid is being put into action
Following the opening of COOPI headquarters in Syria in December, from early February on wards the project “Alimentary support in response to the Syrian crisis in the metropolitan district of Damascus” is to be put into practice, in collaboration with Mezzaluna Rossa Arabo-Siriana (SARC). Having dealt with the emergency of Syrian refugees from Lebanon for the past three years, COOPI is now preparing itself to become an active part of humanitarian aid in Syria itself.
First women, head of the family
The project of COOPI and SARC aims to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable homeless people in the southwestern part of Damascus and within its rural area constituted of the sub-district Qatana: Those with women as head of the family, those with more than four minors, those with children aged 0 to 5 years and those with “special needs” (such as the chronically ill, people with disabilities, pregnant or nursing women).
Goal: Food self-sufficiency
Within the project’s area of intervention, the conflict has contributed to the continuous increase of costs of alimentary goods. Currently, the 436.000 homeless families registered in Damascus and the 83.000 registered in Qatana, spend 21.813 Syrian pounds every month for alimentary products: 66% of their average monthly income of 33.000 Syrian pounds.
In order to promote these families in being self-sufficient in food and to reduce the risk of physical and sexual exploitation, to which women are exposed to when travelling to markets – increasingly decentralized and less safe – the project foresees the distribution of kits and training courses in order to create urban gardens and chicken sheds that can cover the needs of 850 families governed by women, for a total of 18.000 individual beneficiaries. The distribution of material and the accompanying of beneficiaries within training sessions provided on the sites of intervention, will be implemented by SARC volunteers and coordinated by COOPI staff present.
Food and water: our areas of intervention
“This project is the first step of our humanitarian intervention in Syria” – explains Uberto Pedeferri, Area Manager of the Middle East. “Having carefully considered the needs and possibilities for action, we are pleased to begin our work, undergoing important collaborations on national and international levels. Our goal is to expand the area of intervention, both on sectoral and geographical levels: we hope to reach other areas in high need very soon, such as in Aleppo, working for the access of food and water”.