Syria has suffered from armed conflict for the last 10 years and is without a doubt the humanitarian catastrophe of our time. More than 570,000 people have been killed. Some 16 million Syrian people are in need of humanitarian assistance: There are currently about 7.6 million internally displaced Syrian civilians and nearly 6 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. Many struggle for basic food, shelter and clothing.
Field Ready is working to address those life-saving needs inside Syria, as well as those of the under-served Syrian refugees in surrounding countries. Our Syrian partners staff two workshops in-country and stay constantly busy coming up with locally made solutions to critical issues.
One specific area we're addressing is healthcare in Northwest Syria, where the lengthy conflict has decimated the healthcare system. Our partners there surveyed more than 50 hospitals and healthcare centers - which serve hundreds of thousands of people in the region - to learn what critical medical devices need repair. In summer 2020, the team began fixing the items they could in their workshops; by December 2020, they repaired 60 critical items, including nebulizers, ECG machines and ventilators needed to treat patients suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. Team members also made parts to repair infant warmers, suction devices and a CT machine.
With crumbling infrastructure, bombings and terrorist attacks still a threat in Syria, collapsed buildings are a serious concern. WIth hard-to-obtain search and rescue equipment at a premium, our team developed an innovative and cost-effective solution - rescue airbags made from locally recovered and recycled materials (including deployed vehicle airbags) that can raise heavy debris and help save anyone trapped beneath a collapsed structure. Our design works well and meets international standards at a 90% reduction in cost – an incredible amount to save lives. First used to rescue Syrian civilians in March 2017, the airbags have been used in more than a hundred rescues to date.
In addition to making immediate repairs and building new rescue devices, we're working to help local people establish other long-term solutions to regional issues. We've trained groups to use hydroponic agricultural equipment and methods to create sustainable and reliable food sources; helped rebuild communications devices and helped distribute responsive shelter materials to spur local redevelopment.
We look forward to continuing innovation from our Syrian team!
Watch the incredible story of the rescue airbag system!