Delivering Emergency Aid to IDPs in Northeast Syria
The Turkish military offensive in Northeast Syria (NES)began on 9 October, and the day after Mercy Hands launched a humanitarian operation to deliver aid from Mosul to Northeast Syria.
Two of Mercy Hands teams in North of Iraq and NES worked simultaneously to deliver the aid to IDPs (Internally Displaced People) in Al Hasakah governorate. The team in Iraq was in charge of purchasing food and nonfood items from Ninewa, Erbil, and Duhok, packing them into kits, and transporting them to Syria. On the other hand, our team in Syria was in charge of identifying IDPs in NES and conducting needs assessment.
Our Emergency Response team in Ninewa purchased food and nonfood items for a total of 400 IDP families, as follows: 400 food kits (canned chicken and beef meat, fava beans, dates, biscuits, and powder milk), 400 hygiene kits (soap, detergent, cleaning detergent, laundry detergent, toothbrushes and toothpastes, towels), 200 blankets, and 200 mattresses.
The food and nonfood items were packed at our warehouses in Ninewa governorate then from there they were delivered to our team in Duhok and from Duhok they were transported to Faysh Khabor - Semalka border crossing between Iraq and Syria. At Semalka, our team in NES became in charge of the aid convoy.
While our Emergency Response team in Ninewa was busy preparing the convy, our team in NES was monitoring the humanitarian situation in Northeast Syria and conducting IDPs needs assessment. Only a handful of humanitarian agencies were delivering aid to IDPs.
Our team was able to identify IDPs settlements with most urgent need for food and household hold items in four villages around Al Hasakah city, namely: Al Tweinah, Tel Taweel, Sfia, and Bezara. Some IDP families had received mattresses and blankets but majority, especially new arrivals, had not received any kind of aid. IDP families that settled in schools were sharing small spaces with no privacy and in poor sanitation conditions. They were in dire need for food, water (+ water purification tablets), blankets, mattresses, hygiene items (soap, towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, women dignity kit, etc.), clothes, cooking stove, utensils, and other household items.
Based on our IDP needs assessment, Mercy Hands decided to deliver the aid to IDPs in Al Hasakah governorate.
The whole operation was managed at higher levels in Mercy Hands. The Executive Director, Regional Coordinator in North Iraq, Senior Management of Emergency Response and Recovery Department, and the Field Coordinator in NES all worked together and exerted the highest level of coordination to ensure the delivery of aid to IDPs in NES.