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

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 15 Mar 2023

Three in 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. 90% of them 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.

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

Moutaz Adham, Oxfam Syria country director said: “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.

“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.

“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.

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

“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,” said Adham.

Oxfam delivered clean drinking water to 46 locations and installed 40 water tanks in shelters. we 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,” he said.

For interviews, contact Lucy Brown on 0478 190 099/