Versions Compared


  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.

Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Background

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters

Yes / No

Comments / Details



The Syrian Arab Republic experiences a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and winter rainfall. Most of the country is semi arid to arid with over 90% the area receiving less than 350 mm mean annual rainfall. The rangelands desert steppe occupies 55% of the country and covers about 10 million hectares, excluding the irrigation band along the Euphrates River.   It is in the Badia that most of the country's nomadic herders and sheep are located. Drought is one of the more serious natural hazards affecting the country, which has a major negative impact on the agricultural sector.

The recent drought experienced in 2007-2009 was considered to be the most severe in 25 years. It necessitated relief assistance and stimulated the initiative for formulating a national drought management policy. This policy was supported by A.0 and aims to provide a suitable framework for drought preparedness, response and mitigation in order to minimize the impact of drought and to facilitate post- drought recovery.

In the winter of 2007/8 the rural population of Syria was hit by two concurrent major shocks: the worst drought in four decades and a dramatic price increase of basic food commodities over a short period of time. The drought had a serious effect on crop and livestock production, natural vegetation and consequently the livelihoods of herders and farmers in the rural areas. Total rainfall during October 2007 - May 2008 was much below average: the majority of the weather stations have recorded 25-85 percent less rain than the average cumulative precipitation. At the same time the population has to cope with soaring food and fuel prices: the price of rice has risen by as much as 143 percent and the price of diesel by 350 percent since January 2008



The western parts of Syria, where the major urban centers (Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Hama) are located, are the most vulnerable to earthquake.

1. Western side of country that composed 1/3 of country is located along fault line.

2. The expected affected population will be about 250,000. The majority will be Syrian with smaller number of the third country nationals and Palestinian refugees.

3. The major assistances are search and rescue, emergency medical services, ongoing medical services, shelter and non-food items, food, water and sanitation, psycho-social services, education, disease surveillance, vaccination.

4. The initial phase for this emergency will be 3 months.

5. Most of the displaced persons are expected to have no shelter and no access to the basic health and educational service.

6. Decreased freedom of movement and related livelihood opportunities for IDPs lead to increased food insecurity.

7. The minimal requirements of the GoS are overall coordination from government, identification of shelters, civil defense responsibilities, and government call for international assistance.

8. The local NGOs have limited capacity for search and rescue and lack in the coordination ability. Limited presence of the INGOs.



Extreme Temperatures

YesClimate in Syria is mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus.


YesSyria has suffered several flood events in the past which have resulted in death and destruction of property, livestock and vital infrastructure. These flood events are usually associated with winter rains and floods emanating from snow melt. During the period 2000-2003, Syria was impacted by a total of 18 such events which affected an average of 8 of the 14 Governorates, all with infrastructure damage mainly in the form of destroyed or collapsed roads, flooding-out of cultivated lands and damage to historical sites. Most recently, a disaster was declared when flooding occurred as a result of the collapsed 71 million cubic meters capacity Zeyzoun dam a June 2002 which accounted for the lives of 22 persons and flooded out village Carmlands. Closely associated with this flooding was the frequent occurrence of landslides.

Insect Infestation




Volcanic Eruptions


High Waves / Surges




High Winds

YesMost of drought areas in the Northern Eastern part of Syria are vulnerable to wind and sand storms. The last one too place in Hassaka in 2008.

Other Comments


Man-Made Issues

Civil Strife


International Conflict


Internally Displaced Persons


Refugees Present


Landmines / UXO Present


Other Comments

Transport accident on the 21Sep1998, (killed 37), on the 31Mar2005 (killed 30), 27Jan2007 (killed 26), 21Apr2011 (affected 20) and miscellaneous accident (affected 10,020)