GOAL and the EU Reach over a Million People in Northwest Syria with Vital Assistance following February 2023 Earthquakes

GOAL’s emergency response project RELIEF, funded by the EU and other donors, reached over one million people across Northwest Syria between May 2023 and May 2024. Moving forward, GOAL will expand its outreach under the project through an augmented cash-based food assistance programme and the introduction of new dignified shelter activities.

Fourth Phase of RELIEF:

The fourth phase of RELIEF, GOAL’s emergency response project in Northwest Syria, provided vital emergency aid, food assistance, and clean water and sanitation support for over a million people in urban, rural, and camp settings across Idleb and Northern Aleppo. Activities implemented under the 19-million-euro project, primarily funded by the European Union (EU), concluded last week.

“After 13 years of conflict and the Türkiye-Syria earthquakes of February 2023, over 4 million people in Northwest Syria are struggling to cope with displacement, homelessness, and diminishing access to food and basic services. The EU’s support to GOAL ensures that we can reach the most vulnerable families with integrated, conflict-sensitive programmes that centre on strengthening Syrian communities’ resilience against the critical challenges they continue to face,” said Mary Van Lieshout, GOAL’s Deputy CEO.

Disaster Response Programming:

Under the disaster response programming of RELIEF IV, GOAL prioritised communities in Northwest Syria that were directly impacted by the devastating earthquakes of February 2023. In addition to providing cash assistance to affected families, emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities were implemented to address the additional humanitarian needs caused by the earthquakes’ destruction and mitigate the growing risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

Jeannie Zielinski, GOAL’s Syria Response Country Director, said, “The earthquakes’ impact on water systems in Northwest Syria, already crumbling after over a decade of conflict, was particularly dire. Interruptions in the supply of water, sanitation services, and wastewater management were common across earthquake-affected communities, which put vulnerable families at an even higher risk of contracting water-borne and other diseases.

“Ensuring continued and reliable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services has been a cornerstone of GOAL’s programmes in Northwest Syria. After last year’s earthquakes, we have expanded this support by connecting camps hosting those who lost their homes to water and sanitation networks and restoring access to piped water in impacted areas.”


  • Over 800,000 people were provided with regular access to clean piped water
  • More than 130,000 people residing in earthquake-affected areas or newly settled displacement camps benefitted from emergency WASH activities, including the extension of water networks, repair and rehabilitation of critical infrastructure, and sanitation management
  • 42,000 earthquake-affected individuals and 23,000 people who were newly displaced because of escalations of military conflict were provided with cash assistance to help them meet urgent needs
  • 130,000 individuals were reached with cash-based winterisation assistance to help them keep warm during the coldest days of the year
  • 73,000 people received cash-based food assistance.

Next Phase: SANAD

Under SANAD, the project’s next phase, GOAL will expand its cash-based food assistance programme and build additional dignified shelters which provide protection and privacy for displaced people, relying on the expertise the organisation has developed in this area. Families in Northwest Syria who are residing in camps where access to services is most challenging will be prioritized in the allocation of the new housing units GOAL will fabricate under the project.


Contact Information

Saoirse Gleeson

Notes to editors

GOAL, an international humanitarian agency was established in Dublin, Ireland in 1997 and since it’s inception, GOAL has responded to almost all the world’s major humanitarian crises. Today GOAL, which has a staff of 3,500 people across the world, works in 13 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Latin America and works in Ukraine. The agency delivers humanitarian aid programmes in emergency response, health, food and nutrition, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and livelihoods. While GOAL will always be an agile first responder to humanitarian crises, it is also committed to working with vulnerable communities, focusing especially on those who are excluded or marginalised, to help them survive crises and support them on the road to recovery and resilience. For further information, please visit Homepage – GOAL Global

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