Meeting urgent humanitarian needs of displaced and returning Syrians inside the country is the immediate priority of the UN Refugee Agency and other aid organizations, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said Thursday.
Grandi was speaking in Douma, 10 kilometres outside the capital, Damascus. The area suffered widespread destruction during years of fighting, culminating in an intense battle when the government retook control of the city earlier this year.
Thousands of families fled the city during the recent violence and preceding years of conflict, with 125,000 people currently living in the area compared with a pre-crisis population of some 300,000.
Amongst the collapsed buildings and piles of rubble, however, some of the recently displaced are returning to try to rebuild their homes and lives. But with few dwellings left unscathed and even the most basic services in short supply, Grandi warned that the humanitarian needs of the population remained immense.
“Although of course a lot of people are still displaced from their homes, many have returned,” Grandi said. “They are trying to live a normal life amidst the ruins, with very little resources, struggling to normalize life that has been disrupted by so many years of war.”