The forgotten suffering in Syria

You are all probably aware of the devastation that is occurring everyday in Syria now. Lives lost and families torn apart and destroyed due to the civil war. Is this the only thing you are aware of in Syria though? I conducted a questionnaire on 10 people and asked the question ‘What do you think of when you hear about suffering in Syria?’ 10 out of 10 replied with physical human suffering. They are quite right. The statistics for human suffering are shocking. A survey was conducted in Aleppo on 52 out of 125 neighbourhoods in Aleppo, Syria. Out of a population of 2.5 million, 10,800 people have been killed, 4,500 people are missing and 1 million people have fled. 2.4 million need humanitarian aid. 240,000 do not have access to enough fresh water. Those statistics are shocking and thats just a small part of the spectrum of suffering in Syria. As I found out from my questionnaire and my title might suggest there is forgotten suffering in Syria. This suffering is to the infrastructure there, its almost none existent anymore. I think the reason why it is forgotten is due to the mainstream media, it focuses very much on the physical human suffering. There isn’t anything wrong with the media doing that but it gives a very blinkered view to wider range of destruction which should have the same importance as physical suffering as they both work for each other.

Hospitals are important in a country where there is no warfare so hospitals in a war zone are vital to maintain health and save lives. The problem is that as the casualties increases the demand for hospitals is magnified but there simply isn’t enough hospitals and health care facilities to cope with the extremely high demand of people needing help. 37% of hospitals in Syria have closed and 20% have been severely damaged. The damaged hospitals will only be able to treat a fraction of what they should be able to treat if they weren’t damaged due to the conflict. The health service would not be to usual standards as the amount of staff is limited and the supplies are not delivered in a normal fashion as they would be in a none war zone. Medical supplies will be rationed to use on the patients that have priority due to the degree of their injuries. As it would appear 43% of hospitals are still open as normal but that’s a figure that could change weekly or even daily as hospitals are targeted by the opposition.

The education system in Syria is not much of an education system anymore. 2 million children have dropped out of school since the start of the civil war. 3,000 schools have been destroyed and 900 schools are being used a shelters for people during bombings and fighting. Where schools are open there just isn’t enough teachers to conduct a class as normal and the parents fear sending their children to school. This is because not only are the schools situated in a war zone but they are also targeted because the enemy knows that people use schools for shelters as well as education. As the enemy know that families shelter in schools they are aware of the impact on moral it would have if they were to destroy one along with families inside. In the eyes of the opposition this could lead them to give up on the war as they will reason if losing their family and friends is really worth winning a war for. A lot of these children end up being child soldiers. I suppose they must feel like they must do something and being easily influenced as children that seems to be the best option. These children that are not getting an education are resulting in Syria missing a generation of educated youth. Over the long term this could increase unemployment as they will not meet the criteria that jobs require. Because of this crime rates will increase as people will feel forced to rob and commit crimes in order to make money and live a life. As these children grew up in a war zone and an era of corruption they will have a different perspective of what is right and wrong. Stealing might be all they know.

Please understand that these people are not drug addicts or drop outs. They are just innocent people stripped of their rights to live freely in the country they exist in all because of the political decisions from the power hungry leader in that country.

WFP Operations in Homs

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