Responding to the crisis in Syria

Four years into the conflict in Syria, close to 60 percent of the population is either internally displaced or has fled the country. The fighting has now drastically rolled back the region’s human development achievements —perhaps by decades.

In addition to killing more than 191,000 people and displacing close to 7 million, the crisis has caused rampant unemployment and left more than 50 percent of the population living in poverty. At the same time, as millions of Syrians seek refuge in neighboring countries, already vulnerable host communities are struggling with the influx of new refugees.


  • 12.6 million Syrians now living in poverty and 4.4 million in extreme poverty because of the crisis
  • 2.9 million refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and North Africa
  • Refugees will soon make up one-third of the population in Lebanon and camp Za’atri in Jordan, which hosts 81,000 Syrian refugees, is the second-largest refugee camp in the world
  • Over 191,000 killed in fighting, with over 600,000 injured, and 10.8 million now need humanitarian assistance

In host countries, insufficient services such as health, education, sanitation, housing and socio-economic infrastructure, coupled with a collapse in economic opportunity and increased competition for jobs, are exacerbating deprivation. Rising tensions have begun to threaten social cohesion and the rule of law.

As one of development agencies in Syria  with the largest presence, UNDP works with affected communities to help them cope, rebuild, recover and protect development gains, for example by providing temporary jobs to affected people, clearing debris and helping local businesses to recover productive assets.

In countries neighboring Syria, UNDP supports host communities to cope with the influx of refugees by improving infrastructure, and boosting local economic and employment opportunities, especially for vulnerable groups, such as young people, those with disabilities and women - while helping to resolve, mediate and prevent conflict.

UNDP’s development approach focuses on building resilience and ensuring that communities not only recover from the crisis but also improve the longer-term development prospects needed to move towards a lasting peace.

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