Titelbild Syrien - Mädchen mit Brot
©arche noVa

Syria: Bread, water, housing and more emergency aid for people between the fronts

Since 11 years, the Syrian people are victims of a horrid civil war. Those affected live in constant danger and under most adverse circumstances. The figures show how dramatic the situation is: hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are victims of armed conflicts, millions of families had to leave their homes. arche noVa provides emergency aid in the north of the country.
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arche noVa started the project in Syria in 2012, when the conflicts’ intensity increased and more and more people lost their homes. Especially families in northern Syria and close to the Turkish border live in socially complicated situations. Our work focuses on supporting internally displaced people and in particular households led by women.

Providing basic support

There is an acute lack of primary necessities in large parts of Syria. The economy has collapsed. Industrial companies ceased their production. It is very difficult for transports to enter the country, especially the northern part. The people lack everything. Food is hard to get and the prices have been rising tremendously. Yet most people have hardly any money reserves and keep their heads above water only with informal jobs. Around 6.7 million Syrians are refugees in their own country. The public infrastructure in the host communities is completely overloaded. The situation is particularly precarious in the unofficial settlements or tent cities where most of the refugees live. There is often a complete lack of infrastructure. As an expert in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene, arche noVa ensures emergency supplies in particularly precarious places. Our local team supplies drinking water for several thousand people daily by tanker truck. Furthermore, arche noVa organises sewage and waste disposal in the receiving settlements and temporary accommodation, builds toilets and erects water tanks to store the water supply.

The focus of arche noVa's activities is on the distribution of food to the internally displaced and the citizens of the receiving municipalities. The monthly packages with basic food provided by arche noVa became a life-saving emergency service for many families. More than 345,000 aid packages have already been distributed since 2013. Currently, we distribute about 1.900 packages every month. Our local staff takes care to include as much diverse, regional and substantial food as possible. Additionally, in some of the informal settlements we started to introduce an electronic voucher system. As opposed to the former system of direct distribution, the electronic voucher system shall enable the people to choose the products they want more freely on the local market.

With regard to the extremely difficult supply situation, arche noVa has also been distributing bread since the beginning of the project. Bread is a very important traditional component of nutrition in Syria. We regularly provide several thousand people. Usually, each family receives one kilogram of bread per day, which is baked in local bakeries and daily distributed by the arche noVa team. In order to increase self-supply and to reduce the dependency on bread-delivery, in some settlements we now also start to introduce small traditional bakeries.

The local team on the ground must constantly adapt the relief activities to the changing circumstances and the difficult security situation. This applies both to the risk of fighting and displacement and to the newly added threat of the Corona pandemic.

Hygiene kits for preventive health care

Summarised in so-called kits, arche noVa distributes hygiene articles that are particularly urgently needed because many people live under difficult conditions and have hardly any access to medical care. Several hundred hygiene kits are distributed to the needy every month. These activities were further increased in the course of the Corona emergency aid.

During the cold season arche noVa has been able to carry out additional distributions. Several thousand refugees received winter kits - including fleece jackets, caps and scarves.

Better living conditions in informal settlements

Many Internally Displaced Persons have long since been unable to find accommodation in northern Syria. Happy are those who can at least find shelter in a tent. Yet, after several years of usage, even the tents are worn out by now. In order to improve the living conditions in the informal settlements, we now provide the Internally Displaced Persons with heated emergency shelters. The heated shelters will provide better protection during the cold winter months. Furthermore, we also distribute seeds for home-gardens in order to increase self-supply.

Funding from the German Federal Foreign Office secures the basis for this project.

However, the local needs go far beyond this. The situation is particularly dramatic in the embattled Idlib. Our local team is on site and would like to do even more.

We urgently ask for donations for our humanitarian aid.

Donate for this project

a food package containing basic food for a family for one month.
a 1,000 litre tank that stores water for 15 people in an informal camp.
to build a toilet for 20 people living in tents or shelters.

Project Overview


Securing the basic living conditions of people affected by the civil war

Target Group

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and hosting communities

  • Drinking water supply by water trucking at unofficial settlements/ emergency shelters (1,700 truck trips per month)
  • Sewage and waste disposal in unofficial settlements/ emergency shelters (240 truck trips for sewage disposal per month)
  • Construction of toilets (about 30 monthly)
  • Distribution of water tanks (e.g. 865 tanks in June 2021)
  • Distribution of food packages (1,900 packages per month
  • Distribution of bread parcels (4,000 1-kilo packages daily
  • Distribution of hygiene kits (400 monthly)
  • Distribution of winter clothing, blankets etc. in the cold season
  • Heated emergency shelters
  • Seeds for home-gardens
  • Introduction of small traditional bakeries in some informal settlements

Latest Update: March 2022

Since 2012
Co-operation partners


  • Auswärtiges Amt (German Federal Foreign Office)
  • Aktion Deutschland Hilft (Germany's Relief Coalition)