European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Can everyone afford to smile?


With the armed conflict in Syria well into its fourth year, the population is living in increasingly fragile conditions. Close to 11 million people are in need in Syria, and almost 3 million refugees are scattered across the region. Every day, they struggle to meet the most basic needs of their family members; a roof over their head, food, water and protection. Since 2012, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has supported the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in channelling emergency assistance to affected populations. 

On August 11,  ECHO and DRC launched an outdoor campaign titled “Can everyone afford to smile?”. It was featured in 38 locations across Denmark,  presenting the work of Lebanese photographer Leila Alaoui on Syrian refugees’ living conditions in Lebanon. The photos depict the grim reality millions of Syrians wake up to every morning and the need for the international community to continue its support.