Humanitarian crisis growing: Syria needs Australia’s help


Hospitals have closed as medical facilities in northeast Syria are under high pressure. Source: ICRC

The Red Cross has issued a stark warning about a human tragedy unfolding in northeast Syria, as hundreds of thousands of people become displaced from civil war.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman Pat Griffiths says that the aid organisation are witnessing the beginnings of a humanitarian crisis in northeast Syria.

“The latest estimates have the number of people that have already been displaced between 170,000 and 200,000 people along the border of Turkey and Syria,” Mr Griffiths says.

He says the number of displaced individuals in the area could rise to 300,000.

The Turkish military invaded Syria in early October after US troops withdrew support for its Kurdish allies.

The Kurdish population make up just 10 per cent of the Syrian population.

Now, schools are being turned into shelters, water sources have been damaged and water infrastructure is located where there is ongoing conflict, Mr Griffiths says.

Hospitals have closed due to high medical facility pressure and there is only one hospital operating in an area containing tens of thousands of people.

The Australian Red Cross, a partner of the ICRC, have created the Syria Crisis Appeal – an Australian-based charity where the nation can donate to fund aid for those displaced by the crisis.

Donations to the appeal provide life-saving healthcare, first-aid and medicine, food, clean drinking water, hygiene kits, sanitation, as well as mattresses and blankets in shelters, and psychosocial support for trauma survivors.

“The situation in northeast Syria right now from a humanitarian perspective is extremely serious, getting worse day by day,” Mr Griffiths says.

According to Mr Griffiths, the ICRC has a call to action for the preservation of humanitarian access to northeast Syria because of a “shrinking of humanitarian space” due to increasing attacks on aid, humanitarian, and medical workers.

“It’s critical, essentially, in allowing us access to help people and provide that bare minimum of humanity in situations of armed violence.”

The ICRC’s sole concern is to alleviate the suffering of people and protect them from further harm in situations of conflict.

“Australians can donate and provide funds that will help millions of people who still need our support,” Mr Griffiths says.

“Considering how long these hostilities have gone on for and how devastating they have been, I can only imagine there must be many Australians with friends or family affected by the conflict,” Mr Griffiths says.

For more information on the Syria Crisis Appeal or to donate, visit