Syria: humanitarian situation and ICRC/Red Crescent response, March 2012
Daily updates on the situation in Syria and the work of the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), from 25 February to 25 March 2012.
23 March 2012
The impact of fighting on the humanitarian situation has increased significantly since December. People have been killed or wounded and tens of thousands have fled their homes, leaving behind most of their belongings. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent continue to help those most affected by the fighting.
19 March 2012
The president of the ICRC, Jakob Kellenberger, met today with the Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergei Lavrov, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria and the aid operations of the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. At the meeting, the ICRC received positive indications of support for its operational priorities and for its proposal that there be a two-hour cessation in the fighting every day to allow assistance to reach those who need it. The meeting also emphasized the importance of neutral and independent humanitarian action in Syria today.
The ICRC is hopeful that meetings like this will lead to concrete results on the ground in the coming days and weeks. The decision on its call for a daily cessation in the fighting remains in the hands of the Syrian authorities and the Syrian opposition who are the ICRC's main partners in discussion.
Meanwhile, the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent sent 12 truckloads of food, mattresses, blankets and hygiene items in two convoys to the provinces of Homs and Aleppo today. The convoy in Homs province travelled directly to the town of Za'afaranah, nearly 30 kilometres to the north-east of the city of Homs, where aid was distributed. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent had visited Za'afaranah last week to assess the humanitarian situation and the need for aid.
14 March 2012
On Wednesday 14 March, a joint team from the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent went to the towns of Rastan, Talbiseh and Al Zaafaraneh, in Homs province, to assess the need for humanitarian action. ICRC and Red Crescent teams spoke to both residents and people who had been driven from their homes by the fighting. They also conferred with local medical personnel.
Buildings in Rastan and Talbiseh were heavily damaged from the fighting, though no fighting occurred during the ICRC / Red Crescent visit.People who had fled Rastan and Talbiseh went to Al Zaafaraneh, which is also hosting families from Baba Amr, Karm al Zaytoun and other places. There are now over 12,000 displaced people there in need of assistance.
The main needs are mattresses, blankets, food, baby formula, basic medicines and vital medication for chronic illnesses. Residents who have remained in Rastan and Talbiseh are receiving aid from the Syrian Red Crescent.
The ICRC and the Red Crescent hope to return to Al Zaafaraneh next week to bring aid. In the meantime, the two organizations will continue assisting other people who have fled their homes in Homs province (including the city of Homs) and in other areas affected by the unrest.
9 March 2012
The situation remains difficult in many parts of the country. Needs are great, both in Homs following the recent fighting there and in other regions affected by the unrest. Cold weather and a deteriorating economic situation are making it even harder for people to cope.
7 March 2012
A team from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) entered the district of Baba Amr in Homs today. The SARC volunteers found that the vast majority of Baba Amr residents had left their homes in recent days to seek refuge in neighbouring areas, where the SARC and the ICRC are providing them with assistance.
The priority now is to continue providing food, blankets and hygiene kits for people in areas affected by the violence, including those who have had to leave Baba Amr.
In Abel (10 km from Homs), 450 families received food and hygiene kits today, and the SARC and the ICRC are continuing their daily distributions of food and other essential items in Hama, Idlib, Dara’a and rural Damascus.
5 March 2012
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ICRC today began to help people in Al Insha'at, a district of Homs. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent team, which has several ambulances and a doctor ready to provide first aid and medical care where needed, distributed food, blankets and hygiene items to residents and to people who had fled Baba Amr.
Yesterday, 4 March, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ICRC brought aid to many families in the village of Abel, 10 kilometres from Homs. They distributed food, blankets and basic medicines, and a Syrian Arab Red Crescent doctor provided health care. The priority for the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent is to continue assisting people affected by the violence, including those who fled Baba Amr or who remain inside the district.
2 March 2012
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC) were not allowed to enter the Baba Amr district of Homs today, 2 March. Yesterday, 1 March, the Syrian authorities had authorized the joint team to enter Baba Amr today, to respond to the humanitarian needs of the people there.
1 March 2012
On 1 March 2012, the Syrian authorities authorized the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to enter the district of Baba Amr the following day. The humanitarian situation on the ground is worrying and the ICRC is looking forward to starting to evacuate the wounded, the seriously ill and the dead.
28 February 2012
ICRC confirms that aid has reached Hama, a town in west central Syria badly affected by the fighting. The organization has not been able to return to Baba Amr in Homs since it evacuated 27 people on 24 February. However, negotiations with the Syrian authorities and the opposition are continuing, to try to reach agreement on a daily halt in the fighting to allow humanitarian assistance to be carried out in safety.
27 February 2012
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have today entered the city of Hama for the first time since 17 January. The joint team will distribute enough food to cover some of the needs of around 12,000 people for one month, together with hygiene kits and blankets. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are continuing their efforts to enter Baba Amr as soon as possible, to evacuate those in need of help and to bring in urgently-needed aid.
26 February 2012
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are still negotiating with both the Syrian authorities and the opposition groups in an attempt to arrange the conditions needed for them to enter Baba Amr again today. Acute needs are growing by the hour and it is crucial that these organizations be able to enter the area to evacuate people urgently requiring medical care and to bring in vital humanitarian aid.
25 February 2012 - Situation in the afternoon
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been in negotiations since this morning with both the Syrian authorities and the opposition groups in Homs. These discussions have yielded no concrete results today. Unfortunately, therefore, no emergency evacuations will take place today.
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent will continue to negotiate with the Syrian authorities and the opposition in an attempt to enter Baba Amr and carry out live-saving evacuations.
25 February 2012 - Situation in the morning
Since this morning, ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff have been in contact with both the Syrian authorities and the opposition to arrange the evacuation from the Baba Amr neighbourhood of all those in need of urgent medical care. The ICRC / Red Crescent team spent the night in Homs after evacuating seven wounded people to Al Amin hospital and 20 women and children outside the affected zone. Continued access to Baba Amr and other areas racked by violence is crucial to life-saving operations
Syria: a mission to save lives
Interview with Carla Haddad, 2 March: ICRC and Red Crescent not allowed to enter Baba Amr
Interview with Carla Haddad, 28 February: ICRC steps up aid as supplies reach Hama, western Syria
Interview with Carla Haddad, 24 February: Syria: daily halt in fighting essential to allow humanitarian relief
News release - Syria: urgent call for daily halts in fighting: