iMMAP announces the completion of the Returns Context Monitoring, COVID-19 Coordination, and Mine Action Coordination in Syria project. Funded the European Union, the multi-pronged project was centered on three components: analyzing barriers of return for forcibly displaced people through context monitoring, COVID-19 emergency coordination and humanitarian mine action coordination in Syria.
With a budget of EUR 950,000, the project formally kicked-off on June 1, 2021, and ended on May 31, 2022.
Throughout this year-long endeavor, iMMAP produced a host of deliverables comprising five area-based profiles, four thematic reports, two quarterly explosive ordnance contamination and mine action activities analysis reports, eight COVID-19 situational reports, four COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) plans, and a COVID-19 situation dashboard. iMMAP also organized nine COVID-19 task force and 20 joint Mine Action Sub-working group and Explosive Ordnance Risk Education coordination group meetings.
Along with the entailed deliverables, iMMAP published a human interest story. Based in Syria’s Washokani Camp, the story
was built around the hardships of six schoolkids and a young, expecting father who lost his leg during the October 2019 military offensive known as “Operation Peace Spring”.
The area-based profiles and thematic reports addressed the local environments and conditions for returnees and refugees, including the identification and assessment of key barriers to return.
On the other hand, the COVID-19 situation reports provided the latest COVID-19 case numbers and deaths, up-to-date stock inventories of vital medical equipment, and public health directives. A COVID-19 situation dashboard was also developed to visualize the range of context and information highlighted in the situation reports. Consequently, the reports, along with the dashboard, bolstered the RCCE plans, which outlined trainings, public broadcasts and other awareness mechanisms available to ensure proper preparedness and adherence to COVID-19 safety measures.
The COVID-19 situation in northeast Syria remains frail with a near-40% positivity rate and a case-load which more than tripled
from just over 8,000 to a little over 29,000 in 2021. At the time of writing, more than 1,500 lives were lost as a result of the novel COVID-19 virus.
To support mine action activities, iMMAP organized a plethora of meetings with key working and coordination groups. The meetings were aimed at enhancing coordination and cooperation in knowledge sharing and promoting protection measures to beneficiaries at risk of mine explosions.
Unexploded ordnances (UXOs) remain rife
throughout the country, leading to tens of incidents a month and claiming hundreds of victims. In northeast Syria alone, UXOs have been the main cause of 900 deaths.
Due to these conditions and frailties, the number of returnees remains low. The poor security and economic situations also remain leading deterrents
for return. As long as the aforementioned situations persist, the chances for long-lasting stability will remain limited, and so will the desire for return.