Ar Rastan is a besieged area in the northern countryside of Homs. It is besieged since 2012 and faced security issues regularly especially booming, shelling, air strikes and other attacks. Ar Rastan hosted a large number of displacements from different areas in addition to the host community including women, girls, elderly, children, infants and disabilities who need urgent and continuous support to meet their priority needs.
Winter is here and the city needs more assistance and support in terms of food, NFIs, Infant Milk, WASH, Medical and other need services. Due to the besiege and the large number of IDPs and host community that includes vulnerable people, caused a lack of provided assistance for those in need and widening gaps to meet the most priority needs of the entire population.
The Rapid needs assessment was conducted through MHD filed team who interviewed a number of key informants in different communities using cluster sampling methods. The key informants were local council managers, Relief offices managers, education Manager and information office managers.
The assessment questionnaire was designed by technical program team and MEAL team to ensure covering the needed aspects to get full understanding about the top priority needs of the displacements and the host community. In addition, the questionnaire was uploaded on online data collection platform (Kobo) and the qualitative data analyzed by taking notes and number of the
displacements and their priorities needs per location.
1. Demographic Information:
The total number of the population in Ar-Rastan was around 80,000 persons including the displacements and the local community.
Out of total population, 64,650 were the total of the local community, 32,000 were female, 28,000 were males, 3,200 were infants and 1450 were disabilities.
Also, Out of total population, 14,680 were displacements, 7,000 were males, 6000 were females, 1430 were infants, and 250 were disabilities.
It worth mention the population includes a large number of women, infants and disabilities who are consider as the most vulnerable groups in the communities and needs regular assistance and support.
2. Security & Admin:
Ar Rasatn is consider as unsecure place due to the security incidents which caused by the around points of Syrian regime. Where some occasional instability or violence documented in Ar Rastan many times which affected on the situation of the population which depends on Agriculture, Industry
and NGOs support for their income. Furthermore, high percentage of the population more than 50% without income and cannot work because of the high risks.
The local council in Ar Rastan is responsible for administrative works and coordination aspects of identity the needs and arranging the delivery of the assistance with NGOs and other civil society organizations.
3. Food Security & Livelihood:
The main sources of income in Ar-Rastan were Humanitarian assistance, Casual labor or petty trade,
Agriculture and Irregular social support (remittance). However, the bad security situation is consider as the first challenge which affected the income of the population in Ar-Rastan.
The top priority needs regarding food security were, Baby milk, food Basket, and the flour for the bakeries in the community. Where there are 5 functioning bakeries and 4 non-functioning bakeries in Ar-Rastan which needs regular maintenance, flour, fuel, leaven and to be in safe places to be to provide the needed bread for the entire population.
Based on the local council and civil society organization in Ar-Rastan, more than 6,000 families need urgent support with food baskets, more than 2,650 Infants need urgent support with Baby milk.
On the other hand, the most common food copying strategies were last 7 days as the following;
- Changing diet (e.g. eating less preferred and less expensive food)
- Borrowing money or resources
- Reducing food intake
- Depending on charities
- Selling assets
These are consider as a bad stagey which needs urgent intervention to decrease the copying strategy
and increase the level of household Dietary and diversity level in the community.
The main sources of water in the community were network (partially functioning) and water trucks which needed by many areas in the community due to unviability of water network. The water sources were not protected at all the have many issues and caused diseases such as diarrhea.
Moreover, the Local council is responsible for maintaining and rehabilitation of the water points, but there was limitation and big gaps in the capacity of the local council for rehabilitation activities.
The main challenges in accessing water were as follows;
- There are not enough water points available
- Physical/logistical constraints such as unavailable transportation, damaged infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges)
- Waiting time at water points was too long
- Financial constraints – water was unaffordable
- Lack of water for bathing/washing
- The water was not clean
Regarding sewage system in Ar-Rastan, there was a lot of over flows especially during the rainy season and the sewage system needs rehabilitation and linking with the houses. Where most of the households were not linked with the sewage network because of the lack of the capacity and lack of
For the solid waste management, the local council and NGOs were responsible for waste disposing once a week through trucks, and there were lack of west bins, waste collection workers, and lack ofdump sites in the community.
5. Protection & Education:
- There are 36 schools in Ar- Rastan which contains 12,000 students from different ages. There was were many challenges regarding the education and the schools as follows,
- Lack of teacher and educational team.
- Destroyed infrastructure in most of the schools.
- Security issues Bombing and shelling.
- Lack of hygiene conditions in the schools.
- Lack of organization which supports the education and schools.
The needed support for the schools and the education sector in the community was;
- Schools rehabilitation.
- Availability of teacher and education team.
- Heaters and fuel.
In term of protection the main issues in relation to the security and protection in Ar-Rastan were;
- Armed violence (bombing, attacks, combats or clashes between armed groups)
- Deliberate targeting of civilians by the military or armed groups
- Girls and women are targets of violence
- Continued threat from natural disaster (drought, flooding, etc)
- Threats to assets
- Civilians are abducted or taken hostage
- Adult civilians were recruited by force into armed groups
The prıorıty needs related protectıon of chıldren women, girls, boys, men were;
- Psychosocial support and mental health programs
- Providing training and capacity for PSS team.
- Financial support for the civil society in Ar- Rastan for protection programs.
6. Access to Humanitarian Aid:
The main challenges in accessing to the humanitarian aid were;
- There was not enough aid for all in need.
- Limitations in movement preventing relief organizations from accessing affected
- The aid provided did not address actual needs.
- Access to aid was unequal among affected communities or households (gender, age,disability).
- Aid was not appropriate or accessible for people with specific needs/vulnerabilities.
- Non-affected communities were also demanding aid.
The other needed and suggested support were;
- Medical services and equipment such as CT scan and other health diagnose equipment.
- Provide support to the dis abilities and assertive devices.
- PSS, protection and Education programs.
Whilst the city is besieged long time ago with this number of population, the urgent support needed as soon as possible to response the priority needs of the population which are baby milk , flour, food baskets, and other lifesaving assistance. The security concerns are still the main challenges for both
population and services providers, however, still existing channel to need to be used to deliver the needed assistance for Ar-Rastan which needs more and more intervention in different sectors to decrease the suffering of the population as much as we can.