Map of the Day: Syria as a Humanitarian Crisis

For the most part, commentary about Syria has focused on the dire human rights abuses that have been carried out by the Syrian regime: The shelling of urban centers, the extrajudicial killings, the disappearances, the torturing, and the crimes against children.

The humanitarian side of the conflict has garnered less attention, I’d say. The fact that this crisis has produced hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced; their lack of access to food or medicine; and the dire living conditions of besieged populations is less frequently cited in commentary and blog posts than the outright human rights abuses that we hear about on a daily basis.

This map, uploaded earlier today to the Facebook page of the US Embassy in Damascus, underscores one aspect of the dire humanitarian challenges facing Syria: the massive displacement of populations, both internally and to other countries. (You can see a full size, high quality PDF of the map here.)

The United Nations is preparing a humanitarian response plan–and will probably ask for around $180 million to help provide for the basic humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the violence. One measure of the international community’s  commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of vulnerable people in Syria will be the extent to which this appeal will be filled — and how long that will take.