Disabilities in Syria: A 'Hidden' Crisis


According to numbers collected by the United Nations in 2021, over a decade of civil war means that around 28 percent of the Syrian population—aged over 2—now suffers from a disability of some kind.

The numbers are even higher in parts of northern Syria. The UN says that around 37 percent of the population in northeastern Syria suffers from some kind of disability.

That percentage is more than double the world average, which sits at around 15 percent.

"The statistics are not only so high because of the war," says Emina Cerimovic, a senior researcher on disability rights at Human Rights Watch, who helped author a 2022 report on the topic. "It's not just that somebody was shot or injured in shelling, but also because of a lack of health care and other services. All of that has resulted in many children and adults acquiring a disability they wouldn't have otherwise."

Numbers have also gone up after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria in February this year, confirms Myriam Abord-Hugon, head of the Syria response team and aid organization Handicap International.

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