6 august 2014 | issue no. 77
More than half a million Palestine refugees are directly affected by the conflict in Syria. UNRWA’s response aims to maintain access to UNRWA services and preserve refugees' resilience through a combination of basic services and humanitarian relief. For a more detailed overview, see the Agency's 2014 Syria regional crisis response here. This biweekly update covers UNRWA's efforts from 23 July to 5 August.
On 24 July, UNRWA was able to deliver essential medicines and antibiotics to Yarmouk for the first time since December, 2012. Delivery included anti-diabetic, anti-hypertension and anti-epileptic medicines, anti-asthma drugs, multivitamins and iron. An UNRWA health team established a temporary health point inside Yarmouk (pictured above) to provide much needed life-saving healthcare.
The period of this update has seen above-average food distribution in Yarmouk from 16 to 24 July, during which UNRWA distributed food parcels to 4,673 civilian families in Yarmouk. UNRWA remains deeply concerned about the desperate humanitarian situation in Yarmouk and appeals to all parties to do everything in their power to end the suffering of the over 18,000 civilians trapped there.
As a result of the conflict, 12 UNRWA staff have been killed, out of a total 16 UN staff in Syria. Twenty-six UNRWA staff have been detained or missing. Twenty-six UNRWA staff have been injured.
Displacement. Out of approximately 540,000 Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria, over 50 per cent are estimated to have been displaced within Syria or in neighbouring countries. In Lebanon, 53,070 PRS have been recorded with UNRWA (a headcount is being finalised). In Jordan and Gaza, 14,290 and 860 Palestine refugees from Syria respectively have approached UNRWA for assistance. The Agency also received reports of around 6,000 Palestine refugees in Egypt and smaller numbers in Libya, Turkey and East Asia.
Funding. The total pledged amount against the 2014 Response Plan stands at $109.2 million, including $33.7 million pledged in 2013 for implementation in 2014. This amount is equivalent to 26 per cent of the total budget of the 2014 Syria regional crisis response required for January-December 2014 ($417 million). Of the total response plan, 74 per cent is budgeted for implementation in Syria, 22 per cent in Lebanon, 3.5 per cent in Jordan and 0.5 per cent for regional coordination.
Inter-Agency. There have been no developments.
Media. Pan-Arab newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat illustrated the feeling of being trapped that many Palestine refugees have described, interviewing two Palestine refugees from Syria who had fled to Gaza before the current escalation of violence. “I told my family that life under siege in Gaza would be better than hell in Syria,” said one of the refugees. The crisis in Gaza continued to overshadow developments in other UNRWA fields.
UNRWA serves approximately 540,000 Palestine refugees registered in Syria. Of these, around 270,000 have been displaced inside Syria and over 70,000 to other countries. Seventeen UNRWA installations across Syria house 7,893 internally displaced persons (IDPs), of whom 15 percent are Syrians, and a further 4,450 Palestinians are sheltered in other UNRWA-managed installations, roughly the same number as in the previous report.
|Area||Name||Access from outside||Description|
|Jaramana (official camp)||Accessible||Jaramana camp and town were relatively calm. A health center is operational, three schools house IDPs and three alternative schools provide classes for UNRWA students.|
|Khan Danoun (official camp)||Accessible||The camp itself is calm. A health centre remains operational, staffed by local colleagues, two schools house IDPs and one alternative school is used to provide classes for UNRWA students.|
|Khan Eshieh (official camp)||Inaccessible||The camp itself is reported to be calm, but hostilities in the surrounding areas have made the camp inaccessible. The last distribution inside the camp took place in August 2013. Though residents are allowed out of the camp to receive food distribution, they are not allowed to bring anything back into the camp. Local staff have kept a health centre and health point open, one UNRWA school houses IDPs and classes are provided for students in two alternative schools.|
|Qabr Essit (official camp)||Accessible||Qabr Essit has remained relatively calm. An agreement has been made to clear rubble from the camp. See highlights above for more detail.|
|Sbeineh (official camp)||Inaccessible||It is assumed that the vast majority of Palestine refugees have left the camp, none have so far been permitted to return and all facilities remain closed.|
|Yarmouk (unofficial camp)||Inaccessible||Yarmouk camp is reported to be calm and distributions took place. Access remains heavily limited.|
|Central area||Hama (official camp)||Accessible||The camp has remained calm and all facilities are operational.|
|Homs (official camp)||Accessible||The camp has remained calm and all facilities are operational.|
|Lattakia (unofficial camp)||Accessible||The camp has remained calm and all facilities are operational.|
|North area||Ein el Tal (unofficial camp)||Inaccessible||The camp remains abandoned, since residents were forcibly displaced by armed groups in April 2013, and access remains blocked.|
|Neirab (official camp)||Accessible||The camp has remained calm and all facilities are operational.|
|South Area||Dera'a (official camp)||Inaccessible||Very few civilians remain in the camp. The camp and its immediate vicinity continue to experience sporadic armed conflict, including the use of explosive munitions on 15 July, killing nine Palestine refugees and three Syrians. UNRWA facilities were partially operational but lack internet and power, impeding operations.|
Education. 13,142 students have participated in Summer Learning activities throughout Syria since the beginning of July 2014. UNRWA received 170 recreational kits from UNICEF which were distributed in July and August to the schools organising Summer Learning activities. An additional 465 kits were received from UNICEF during the reporting period, and will be distributed shortly.
Health. Nine health centres are operational in Damascus, and one each in Homs, Hama, Latakia, Neirab and Aleppo. In addition, eight health points are operational in Damascus, and one in Aleppo. These health centres have enough medicine and supplies to last until the end of October 2014. UNRWA continued to provide primary health care at a temporary health point inside Yarmouk near UNRWA distribution area and reached a total of 1,137 patients, including 219 NCD patients, so far. UNRWA expanded the health point serving its largest collective shelter in the Damascus Training Centre to include laboratory services, thereby improving access to a wider range of critical healthcare for the 1,247 displaced persons residing there.
Emergency relief. UNRWA initiated a second round of food distribution in June. To date, a total of 74,240 food parcels were distributed to 66,825 families across Syria. The Agency also distributed 2,252 hygiene kits in Damascus and Rif Damascus in July. In addition, 21,761 food parcels and 4,331 hygiene kits have been distributed to the residents of Yarmouk so far, since operations resumed there in January 2014. The second round of cash assistance distribution is ongoing since May 2014, and has reached 407,848 persons so far. The organisation of a third round will be contingent on sufficient funding. UNRWA continues to provide shelters to 14,682 displaced people in 38 collective shelters, 17 of which are hosted in UNRWA facilities.
Infrastructure and Camp Improvement. UNRWA is moving forward with the restoration of critical services in Qabr Essit Camp in Damascus City. The rehabilitation of the Women Programme Centre compound, including the distribution centre, was completed. The rehabilitation of one of the schools is nearing completion. However, the reconstruction of another heavily damaged school in Qabr Essit remains unfunded to date.
UNRWA Lebanon is in the process of finalizing a comprehensive exercise of updating its records regarding the PRS in Lebanon. At this advanced stage of the exercise, and according to UNRWA’s estimation, the number of PRS in Lebanon is lower than the figure which has been recorded with UNRWA in recent months. The exact number of PRS in Lebanon will be shared upon completion of the exercise.
Education. The school year was extended for 5,100 PRS students from 16th of June until the 23rd of July. During the month of Ramadan (specifically between 5 to 20 July), and with the generous funding of UNICEF, the Education department organized Iftars for 6,300 PRS and PRL students, mainly grades 1 and 2, who were accompanied by their parents. The Iftars took place in 18 PRS centers distributed in the five areas of Beirut, Beqaa, North of Lebanon, Saida and Tyre. During the same period, arrangements have been made to involve these children together with PRL students in summer recreational activities, due to take place between 11 to 26 August under a project funded by the EU.
Health. In the second quarter of 2014, 79,519 patient consultations took place, 957 patients were hospitalized (918 at secondary level, 39 at tertiary level), 394 patients received out-patient tests and 273 were admitted to the emergency room. Since April 2013, some PRS patients suffering from critical health conditions have been supported in covering their medical bills. Primary and secondary health care and medications are freely available to PRS at the 27 UNRWA health centers located throughout Lebanon.
Emergency relief. UNRWA provides cash assistance by crediting ATM cards issued to beneficiaries, with US$ 30 per person for food and US$ 100 per family for housing. In July, US$ 1.23 million was credited for food and US$ 1.11 million for housing assistance. Unaccompanied and separated minors (fewer than 200) who are not entitled to an ATM card are receiving assistance in cash directly following an assessment by the UNRWA protection team.
Protection. The enhanced border restrictions introduced on 3 May 2014 continue to result in the denial of entry to many PRS seeking to leave Syria for safety in Lebanon. Restrictions on PRS visa renewals continue to impact those PRS already in country, with many unable to renew their visas for Lebanon. As a result, many PRS face an array of protection concerns including limits on their freedom of movement and inability to complete essential civil registration procedures including birth registration. UNRWA continues to follow up and actively engage in constructive dialogue with the Lebanese government and reiterates its calls for the borders to remain open for refugees fleeing the war in Syria (regardless of nationality) and for refugees to maintain legal status in the country.
In Jordan, 14,290 PRS and their families have approached UNRWA, an increase of 70 since the last report. Most PRS in Jordan live in poverty and their precarious legal status creates difficulties for civil processes, access to services and employment. Along with some 200 Syrians, 193 PRS are held in 'Cyber City', a government-appointed facility near Ramtha.
Education. Admission to UNRWA schools in official and unofficial UNRWA camps is open to PRS and Syrian children; 2,121 PRS and Syrian children are enrolled in UNRWA schools, an estimated enrolment rate of 85 per cent of PRS children in all schools, 54 per cent girls. Since the semester started in February, 287 new children have enrolled and 44 students graduated from grade 10 in June. The children are integrated in regular and remedial classes and follow the Jordanian curriculum. UNRWA expects the number of students from Syria enrolled in UNRWA schools to reach about 2,900 by the end of the year. UNRWA monitors drop-outs and offers targeted solutions to encourage families to enroll their children.
Health. UNRWA continues to provide PRS with free primary health care in its 24 clinics across the country, as well as hospital referrals for emergency and life-saving care with almost full coverage. In July 2014, PRS received a total of 1,299 consultations. Overall, PRS have good access to health care, with 98 per cent reporting they receive medical care when they need it.
Emergency relief. UNRWA is currently conducting a home visit-based socioeconomic assessments to prioritize vulnerable families for cash assistance. A specially recruited team of social workers so far have conducted 2,300 home visits and the remaining of around 700 home visits will be conducted within the next few weeks. UNRWA JFO distributed a total of $374 K in cash assistant, just one week before Eid Ramadan, to 727 PRS families composed of 3,123 PRS individuals for the amount of $120 per person to address their basic needs of food and non-food items.