UNRWA more than ever is a critical life-line for Palestine refugees. By adaptation and innovation, the Agency has maintained the capacity to provide services and assistance to all Palestine refugees in Syria and those displaced to Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza.
The conflict in Syria is complex and deadly. All 12 Palestine refugee camps and all 560,000 registered Palestine refugees in the country have been affected. UNRWA estimates that 95 per cent of the 480,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria are in continuous need of humanitarian aid. One third of UNRWA facilities in Syria have been rendered inoperable due to damage or active conflict. Therefore, UNRWA has had to adapt as the conflict permits. It has innovated and found solutions to allow it to continue to fulfill its mandate to assist Palestine refugees.
However, the escalating violence makes movement and access more difficult and causes severe hardship for Palestine refugees. The particular vulnerabilities of Palestine refugees and their sensitive status in the region compound the already stark and violent devastation they share with Syrians. Jordan effectively closed its borders to Palestinian refugees from Syria early in the conflict; Lebanon followed suit in May 2014. When they do find relief from the conflict, they suffer marginalization and acute vulnerability. In Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, many Palestine refugees from Syria do not have legal status and are unable to access civil registration procedures and basic social services. Their movement is limited and they live in constant fear of arrest and forced return to Syria.
The overall needs of Palestine refugees are urgent. Supporting them with advocacy and financial means is an imperative of regional humanitarian, political and strategic importance.
All 560,000 registered Palestine refugees in Syria have been affected by the ongoing conflict. UNRWA estimates that 95 per cent of the 480,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria are in continuous need of humanitarian aid. The escalating violence makes movement and access more difficult and causes severe hardship. Jordan effectively closed its borders to Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) early in the conflict; Lebanon followed suit in May this year.
There are 560,000 Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria. There are 480,000 who remain in Syria of which 280,000 are internally displaced
There are 44,000 PRS in Lebanon. The agency estimates the number will go up to 45,000 by the end of 2015.
There are 15,000 PRS in Jordan. The agency estimates the number will go up to 17,000 by the end of 2015.
The depth and breadth of UNRWA operations in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon lends the Agency an extraordinary staying power and means it is ideally placed to ensure the resilience of these most vulnerable people. UNRWA more than ever is a critical life-line for Palestine refugees. By adaptation and innovation, the Agency has maintained the capacity to provide services and assistance to all Palestine refugees in Syria and those displaced to Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza.
UNRWA requires US$ 415.4 million to meet minimum needs of Palestine refugees affected by the Syria crisis in the region in 2015.
The 2014 UNRWA appeal was only 50 per cent funded. Only by substantially reducing individual assistance has UNRWA been able to continue serving all those in need. If funding levels continue to decline, critical efforts in emergency education and health care will cease, and cash assistance – the central pillar of the UNRWA humanitarian response – will be threatened. By focusing solely on staving off humanitarian disaster, decades of development gains made possible by the international community will be lost.
Read the full appeal (PDF)
We at UNRWA would like to thank all of our donors for their commitment and support to Palestine refugees from Syria caught in the devastating conflict. This assistance has been the life-line to the Palestine refugee families and communities in peril.
As the brutality and complexity of the conflict grow, so do the humanitarian consequences. UNRWA's unique operational depth and breadth in the region provide a critical framework of stability for Palestine refugees affected by the conflict. UNRWA schools, clinics and cash assistance have been instrumental in maintaining a level of resilience despite extreme suffering. However, at 50% funding, we are unable to sustain this response.
We will need US$ 415.4 million in 2015 to meet the bare minimum needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The Palestine refugees count on all of us to stand by them until a solution can be found to the Palestine refugee issue. Your firm support is ever more critical and ever more appreciated as 2015 in Syria looms dark with greater challenges and hardship.