Syria crisis situation update (Issue 47)

19 May 2013
Weekly Donors’ Report 19 May 2013
REGIONAL OVERVIEW
UNRWA continues to respond to the needs of Palestine refugees in Syria, distributing 1.1bn Syrian Pounds of cash assistance to 401,000 beneficiaries. The Agency operates in an increasingly challenging operational environment where armed conflict and threats to the lives and safety of UNRWA staff and refugees are commonplace. The number of refugees who have fled Syria to neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan also continues to rise. The number of Palestine refugees from Syria entering Lebanon and Jordan is now over 53,000 and 6,000 respectively. Inside Syria, just over 8,000 refugees are currently being provided shelter in UNRWA facilities, and many more are being provided accommodation in refugee camp communities.
SYRIA
  • Total of 8,270 IDPs in 21 UNRWA facilities across the country as of 14 May. 79% of IDPs are Palestine refugees. 7,840 displaced refugees are in 14 Damascus facilities alone.
  • So far in May the Agency has distributed over 11,000 mattresses, 2,600 food parcels, and cash assistance to 11,138 beneficiaries. Total cash distribution has reached more than 112,000 families, or 401,000 individuals.
  • Communications were again limited by internet and phone outages this week, further adding to the challenging operational context for area staff reporting to the Field Office. Intercity mobile phone connections as well as international landlines were also down temporarily on 15 May.
  • The Education Department reported a slight increase in the number of students attending class on 14 May, with 24,918 out of 67,292 enrolled students attending 47 schools which remain operational throughout Syria. However, only 15 out of 82 schools in Damascus are open, with 20 non-UNRWA facilities being used by UNRWA teachers to provide continued services wherever possible.
  • Access to several camps, including Sbeineh, Yarmouk and Husseiniyeh, remains blocked due to elevated levels of conflict.
  • This week 10 out of the 23 health centres were closed, and a delivery of medical supplies heading for Aleppo was forced to turn back to Homs due to access difficulties. Only eight health centres were fully operational.
IDP numbers in UNRWA facilities as of 14 May:

Area
F
M
Children
Total
Damascus Training Centre
383
425
527
1335
Damascus (Jaramana Camp)
462
388
818
1668
Damascus (Mezzeh)
170
159
241
570
Damascus (Khan Eshieh Camp)
220
196
361
777
Damascus (Ramadan Camp)
298
365
626
1289
Damascus (Dummar)
121
135
264
520
Damascus (Rukn Eddin)
145
123
224
492
Damascus (Khan Dannoun Camp)
303
280
606
1189
Aleppo
45
56
20
121
Hama
16
23
64
103
Lattakia
57
57
92
206
Total
2220
2207
3843
8270

Damascus / Rif Damascus: Hostilities continued in various parts of the city and countryside, including Douma, Jobar, Barzeh, Harasta, Darayya, Moadamiyeh and Khan Eshieh. Sporadic shelling was also reported in Yarmouk, Sbeineh, Sit Zeinab and Husseineiyeh, with access to Sbeineh and Husseiniyeh Camps completely blocked off by security forces, and acces to Khan Eshieh occasionally also blocked. Shelling in Yarmouk resulted in the deaths of at least seven refugees and injuries to a further five.
Another vehicle was car-jacked in Khan Dannoun, bringing the total number of missing vehicles to 23. The vehicle was apparently stolen by an armed group who claimed they needed it to transport an injured fighter, and the driver and passengers were released unharmed. In a separate incident, an UNRWA doctor was detained – presumably by security forces – whilst working at the health centre in Jaramana.
This week the Agency conducted a second visit to Jaramana Camp to follow up on issues raised by the mission two weeks ago. Staff took note of increasing challenges providing sufficient food and shelter for the 725 displaced persons currently in the school. Approximately 187,000 refugees continue to be displaced from their camps in Damascus, with many temporarily staying in neighbouring areas waiting for an opportunity to return.
Aleppo: Occasional shelling is reported in areas such as Bustan al Qasr, Leramon, Bani Zaid, al Kandoul and the old city, but the Area Office has remained operational. Ein el Tal Camp is still empty, with 6,000 inhabitants currently being provided shelter at UNRWA facilities and host families in Lattakia, Hama and Homs. Hostilities continue around Neirab Camp, and on a positive note, access to and from the city now appears to be possible via a side road.
An interagency convoy carrying medical supplies for the north area’s three medical centres was compelled to turn back to Homs due to access difficulties early in the week. The supplies would have restocked the health centres for approximately two months, and will be stored in the Homs warehouse until access is again possible. Ten health centres are currently closed across Syria, nine of which are in Damascus. A further five are partially open, and eight are fully operational.
Dera’a: Shelling continued to be heard to the south of Dera’a Camp, with occasional clashes also reported. Mzerieb village was relatively calm apart from some shells impacting within the village at the start of the week and clashes continue in the surrounding countryside. All facilities were nevertheless operational. Shelling also continued around Jillien village, and the village remains cut off via the main road from Dera’a. The school is open again, operated by staff living in the village. This week the road to Jordan was reportedly accessible again, but UNRWA conducted a reconnaissance mission to identified clear routes to Dera’a and was turned back due to hostilities.
Homs: The town and camp were relatively quiet this week, with all facilities operational. Communications were again difficult due to internet and phone line outages during the week.
Hama: The town and camp remained relatively quiet this week, with all facilities operational. Late reporting, on Thursday 9 May security forces blocked the entrance to the camp and after a search detained approximately 60 refugees. Intercity phone line outages restricted the amount of communication possible with the Field Office.
Lattakia: The situation remains calm and UNRWA continues to deliver services. Communication outages were also experienced in Lattakia this week.

LEBANON

Palestine Refugees from Syria in Lebanon
There are now approximately 53,200 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) currently in Lebanon. The largest proportion of refugees is located in the southern town of Saida, with the remainder spread evenly between Beqaa Valley, Tyre, Beirut and the north.
Advocacy
An opinion editorial by Ann Dismorr, Director of UNRWA in Lebanon, has been published in a number of local and regional newspapers. Addressing community leaders, refugee representatives and parents, Ms. Dismorr writes: “UNRWA’s 69 schools [in Lebanon] represent the only haven for Palestinian children to pursue education at all levels and enjoy recreational activities throughout the summer. However, this corner stone of our mandate would be under threat if some Palestinian Refugees from Syria turn them into accommodation centers as some have proposed. UNRWA recognizes that there is a significant lack of accommodation that must be met to the best extent possible, but there is no easy solution considering the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis and the influx of over forty thousand Palestine refugees from Syria. Such a move would threaten the education not just of increasing numbers of refugee children from Syria, but also of more than 32,000 students of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon.”

JORDAN

Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Jordan
As of 15 May 2013, UNRWA has recorded 1,662 Palestinian families of concern to the Agency. Currently, 197 Palestinians reside in Cyber City, the government appointed facility in Irbid governorate.
Education
634 students are attending UNRWA schools.
Monthly PRS Registrations
From 1 Jan to 15 May 2013 UNRWA registration of Palestine refugees more than doubled, however, this does not mean the number of Palestinian refugees entering Jordan doubled. Unlike UNHCR, which is able to track numbers of Syrians entering Jordan on a daily basis, UNRWA has no such arrangement with the GoJ (or border access). Tracking of refugee entry dates occurs at the time they register with UNRWA. As refugee resources are depleted, they seek Agency assistance, hence the steady increase in the number of Palestine refugees registering in Jordan.
Palestine refugees from Syria accessing UNRWA services in Jordan have said they left their homes for various reasons including: lack of basic services and availability of food, as well as destruction of home, loss of belongings conflict-related violence and overall insecurity, persecution of family members as well as targeted killings and torture.
 
The current profile of Palestine Refugees from Syria in Jordan includes:
§ 49% male / 51% female
§ Average family size 4.1
§ 76% women & children
§ 9% over the age of 50
§ 37 % under the age of 13
§ 29% female headed households
 

Nationality
Individuals
%
Jordan
3930
 57.5 %
Palestine
1559
 22.8%
Syria
1292
 18.9%
Other
     53
   0.8%
Total
 6,834
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT FUNDING REQUIRMENTS

 2013 Response Plan (January 2013 – June 2013):
  • The total pledged amount against the 2013 Response Plan now stands at US$ 77.9 million, equivalent to 85.3% of the total budget of the 2013 Response Plan required (US$ 91.24 million). 
  • Another US$ 11.8 million are currently under discussion with several donors.

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