Hidden Victims of the Syrian Crisis: Disabled, injured and older refugees
The Syrian crisis has generated the largest refugee movement since the Rwandan genocide and is described as the defining refugee crisis of our era. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, Syrian refugees are about to replace Afghans as the world’s largest refugee population. Within this refugee population older, disabled and injured refugees face specific challenges that contribute to their vulnerability, yet, studies of humanitarian programming show that these same groups are often neglected in the assessment, data collection, design and delivery of responses.
Therefore, in October and November 2013, Handicap International and HelpAge International undertook a research project to highlight the number and needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon living with impairment, injury and chronic disease – for the purposes of this study these groups are referred to as “people with specific needs”. Throughout the report specific consideration is given to the position of older people with specific needs. Due to access and security constraints it was not possible to collect data in Syria itself, however it is recognised that the needs of refugees identified in the following report will be reflected within Syria, and that in this more extreme humanitarian situation the issues outlined below demand further consideration and response.