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Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Background

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters

Yes / No

Comments / Details

Drought

Yes

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

Earthquakes

No

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.

Epidemics

No-

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.

Flooding

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

No-

Mudslides

No-

Volcanic Eruptions

No-

High Waves / Surges

No-

Wildfires

No-

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

n/an/a

International Conflict

n/an/a

Internally Displaced Persons

n/an/a

Refugees Present

n/an/a

Landmines / UXO Present

n/an/a

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)

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Website of Emdat - Disaster Database

Calamities and Seasonal Affects

Seasonal Affects on Transport

Transport

Comments

From (month) to (month)

Primary Road Transport

No effect or restriction applicable.January to December

Secondary Road Transport

The raining season could affect the Secondary road transport, from November till end of March. In addition, the secondary road transport could face some traffic during the harvest season.November to March

Rail Transport

n/an/a

Air Transport

n/an/a

Waterway Transport

n/an/a

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Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response

Government

The major natural hazards affecting Syria are drought, flooding and earthquakes. The capacity to deal with natural hazard risk in Syria is still at a fairly low level. In general, Syria is still attempting to put in place basic disaster preparedness functions that are not well developed and need to be strengthened. Also, national planning efforts do not systematically integrate risk reduction concerns into development planning. But although there is awareness of this at the highest political levels, limited national capacity exists to make it happen.

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Government has a considerable number of different types of aircrafts and helicopters likely to be available to transport personnel and relief supplies; the approximate costs of operation of military and other government aircraft and helicopters.

4.2.1 Syria Syrian Arab Republic Government Contact List

Humanitarian Community

In the event of a natural disaster or of a man made crisis, the UNCT (or Disaster Management Team-DMT-) will assume responsibility for inter-sectoral coordination under the direction and guidance of RC. UNCT or DMT will activate sectoral working groups and streamlined them if necessary to respond to the emergency situation

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