UNRWA Syria crisis situation update (Issue 34)

15 February 2013

15  February 2013
Damascus, Syria

Situational overview

Armed conflict in Syria continued to escalate this week, resulting in more loss of lives and significant displacement. As the situation continues to deteriorate in Syria, particularly in Rif Damascus Governorate and in the northern region of Aleppo, more civilians are unable to meet their basic needs. Palestine refugees are a particularly vulnerable group as it is estimated that over half have been displaced, even as external flight options are severely restricted.  As a result of the escalation in violence since the launch of UNRWA’s Syria Crisis Response 2013, the number of Palestine refugees in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance has reached over 400,000 individuals. Violence in Syria has also resulted in approximately 24,000 Palestine refugees seeking safety in Lebanon and another 3,883 Palestine refugees in Jordan. 

Syria

  • Conflict continues throughout most of the country, notably in eastern and southern parts of Rif Damascus Governorate at the beginning of the week;
  • At least 24 refugees were killed as a result of hostilities around a number of camps in the Damascus area, namely Yarmouk, Sbeineh, Seyeda Zaynab and Husseiniyah;
  • UNRWA’s Microfinance office in Yarmouk was allegedly looted by armed opposition elements;
  • The southern part of Dera‘a town continues to witness regular clashes and shelling;
  • Armed conflict continues in and around Aleppo, Homs, and to a lesser extent Hama;
  • An UNRWA area staff member that was allegedly detained by armed opposition elements in Neirab last week was recently released.
Despite the grave security situation and related restrictions of movement in Syria, UNRWA continues to provide essential services and supplies to conflict-affected Palestine refugees. Since March 2011, UNRWA’s network of staff and humanitarian assets have been put to use in providing 28,652 refugee households with food parcels, 11,733 mattresses, 22,853 blankets, and cash assistance to nearly 56,846 families. UNRWA is planning to provide specially designed hygiene kits to refugee families with new-born babies.
 
Currently, there are 8,678 internally-displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in UNRWA facilities in Syria. The IDPs are unable to afford alternative shelter and are dependent on humanitarian aid for their basic needs. Almost half of them are children and there are 83 pregnant women, 15 of whom are close to term.
 
IDP numbers in UNRWA facilities as of 12 February**:
 

Area
F
M
Children
Total
Damascus Training Centre
458
497
622
1577
Damascus (Jaramana Camp)
280
209
564
1053
Damascus (Mezzeh)
151
146
217
514
Damascus (Khan Eshieh Camp)
451
347
537
1335
Damascus (Ramadan Camp)
531
430
653
1614
Damascus (Dummar)
151
159
283
593
Damascus (Rukn Eddin)
127
138
196
461
Damascus (Khan Dannoun Camp)
171
190
413
774
Aleppo
199
227
303
729
Hama
-
-
-
28
Total
2519
2343
3788
8678
** Over the past weeks, UNRWA has been striving to locate displaced Palestine refugees. These efforts have been successful in locating 2,682 Palestine refugees at 8 non-UNRWA schools in Qudsaya, Khan Eshieh and Khan Dannoun. 1,200 Palestine refugees have been identified in Hama Camp, having come from Yarmouk and Ein el Tal. 2,600 refugees have made themselves known to UNRWA in Homs Camp, having fled from Aleppo, Damascus and Homs countryside. 1,300 refugees have made themselves known to UNRWA in Latakia, having fled from Yarmouk and Ein el Tal. (Total: 8,400)
 
Born into displacement
 
Amidst the bustle of the collective centre in Qudsaya, Doua holds her newborn baby, Khaled. The sixteen-year-old Palestine refugee mother gave birth to Khaled 15 days ago in Qudsaya. He was born in critical condition and although he is now recuperating, Doua faces uncertainty in her future and that of her newborn son. Doua has been displaced multiple times, always in search of safer ground. Due to fighting in her area she first fled her home in Hajera to seek shelter in an UNRWA school in Yarmouk camp. Violence in Yarmouk in December 2012 forced Doua to seek safety in another UNRWA school, this time in Jaramana. The young pregnant woman did not feel comfortable in the school in Jaramana and moved to Qudsaya where she gave birth to Khaled in a local hospital. The mother and her baby cannot return to Hajera where conflict persists. Instead, Doua and Khaled shelter in a facility in Qudsaya administered by a local NGO and supported by UNRWA. In coordination with local NGOs, UNRWA has provided essential supplies to Doua and her baby. These include food, hygiene kits, mattresses, and blankets. UNRWA also covered her delivery expenses at the local hospital. Doua and Khaled are among an estimated 400,000 Palestine refugees in Syria who are dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive.
 
Damascus / Rif Damascus: The situation in Yarmouk remains unpredictable as shelling intensified in areas surrounding the camp this week. Access to Yarmouk remains restricted as security forces control entry to the camp and there are nightly clashes at the northern entrance. This week, the UNRWA Microfinance office was reportedly looted by armed opposition groups. Similar to Yarmouk, the majority of residents from Sbeineh, Seyeda Zaynab and Husseiniyeh have fled hostilities in the camps with as few as 20 per cent of residents estimated to remain in some camps. Communication networks to the camps are intermittently disrupted and humanitarian access is limited causing concern over the safety and well-being of those remaining in the camps that are at high risk of exposure to violence.
 
Hostilities are ongoing in Douma and Barzeh, and Khan Eshieh camp. UNRWA continues to provide essential services in areas of Damascus where the security situation allows access. Since the start of the conflict, UNRWA has provided cash assistance to over 38,000 vulnerable families in the Damascus area. With the rising costs of heating fuel and basic commodities, more families are desperately in need of cash, and food and household items.
 
Aleppo: The situation has further deteriorated in Aleppo where clashes and shelling continue and communications/electricity services are frequently disrupted. Approximately 30 per cent of refugees are estimated to have fled Ein el Tal camp. The immediate vicinity of Neirab camp has been the scene of armed clashes, particularly in the area of the airport adjacent to the camp. Armed opposition groups continue to allegedly detain an UNRWA staff member. Another staff member, a medical officer, together with other refugees was recently released. UNRWA’s facilities continue to be available to Palestine refugees in northern Syria.
 
Dera’a: There were continued hostilities in the town centre and southern part of Dera’a this week. Vehicles are reportedly prevented from entering the town centre and camp area. The area office was temporarily closed as a precautionary measure and the town centre is usually deserted in the afternoon as residents fear exposure to violence and shelling. UNRWA has secured an agreement with local authorities for the use of four government school facilities for the continuation of studies of displaced Palestine refugee children.
 
Homs: Intensive shelling continues throughout the city resulting in the deaths of at least two refugees. UNRWA remains concerned over the welfare of a sanitation staff member who is allegedly detained in Homs. UNRWA facilities are operational.
 
Hama: The situation remains calm in Hama and UNRWA facilities are operational.
 
Lattakia: Despite a relatively calm situation in Lattakia, there are reports of an UNRWA school teacher who remains under detention since October 2012. UNRWA facilities are operational.
 

Lebanon

 
Currently, there are 24,000 Palestine refugees from Syria in Lebanon who are dispersed in Saida (30 per cent), northern Lebanon (15 per cent), Beqa’a (23 per cent), central Lebanon Area (17 per cent) and Tyre (15 per cent). The majority of the displaced refugees is from Yarmouk camp, and is entirely dependent on UNRWA for basic services. UNRWA continues to provide cash assistance to vulnerable Palestine refugee families from Syria who cannot afford basic shelter and clothing. UNRWA’s alternative education modalities programme ensures that approximately 2,700 Palestine refugee children from Syria are able to continue their education despite displacement. In addition to direct assistance for Palestine refugees from Syria, UNRWA also seeks funds to enhance the environmental health and sanitation systems in camps of host communities. In many cases, Palestine refugees from Syria are dependent on host communities for shelter and assistance.

Jordan 

Currently, there are 3883 Palestinian refugees who have fled from Syria (PRS) registered with UNRWA in Jordan, of which 77 per cent are women and children. Of this total, there are 221 individuals in Cyber City, the government-appointed facility in Irbid Governorate.  

Area/Location
Cyber City
North Amman
South Amman
Mafraq
Irbid
Zarqa
Grand Total
Irbid
221
 
 
 
979
 
1200
North Amman
 
816
 
 
 
 
816
South Amman
 
 
591
 
 
 
591
Zarqa
 
 
 
7
 
1269
1276
Grand Total
221
816
591
7
979
1269
3883
 
UNRWA has registered 435 PRS in the last two weeks, the vast majority of whom were resident in Damascus and Rif Damascus Governorate.   

Domicile in Syria
Refugee
Damascus rural
1717
Damascus city
1040
Dera‘a
951
Homs
71
Aleppo
44
Hama
19
Hasaka
14
Qunaitera
7
Latakia
7
Deir Ezzour
7
Edleb
6
Grand Total
3883
 
Schools resumed on 5 February and with 70 new enrollments, there are currently 481 Palestine refugee children from Syria enrolled in schools in Jordan. Refugee protection remains a key concern in UNRWA’s emergency response. To bolster this function, four new staff members have joined UNRWA’s team for the Syrian emergency in Jordan.
 

Funding requirements

UNRWA is seeking USD 91.2 million through its Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (PDF) to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees in Syria and to those who have fled across Syria‘s borders into neighboring Lebanon and Jordan. The plan seeks USD 75.08 million for the six-month period from January 2013 to June 2013 to address pressing humanitarian needs in Syria, USD 13.29 million to support Palestine refugees who have fled to Lebanon, and USD 2.86 million for those seeking refuge in Jordan.

So far, USD 26.29 million have been pledged from the United States of America, the United Kingdom (DFID), Germany, Ireland, Hungary, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) through its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and Emergency Response Fund (ERF), from the Valladolid and Zaragoza regional Spanish governments, and private donors. Of the pledged amount, USD 5 million has been received so far. UNRWA is continuing negotiations with several donors for support to Palestine refugees affected by the crisis.

USD 28.9 million were pledged against UNRWA‘s previous Regional Syria Humanitarian Response Plan which appealed for USD 53.8 million until December 2012. 
 

Gaza Emergency Donate Message 3
US$ 149 PROVIDES A FAMILY WITH MATTRESSES, BLANKETS & A SLEEPING MAT