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 this year. 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.
Read more about the latest development in the Syria Regional Crisis Response Update.
UNRWA is the sole provider of healthcare for virtually all Palestine refugees in Syria due to the collapse of the Syrian public health system. The flight of qualified staff, increasing costs of medical supplies and services and reduced referral options is putting pressure on the capacity of UNRWA to provide adequate services. In Lebanon and Jordan, Palestine refugees from Syria have no access to public health facilities and rely on the UNRWA networks of health clinics and referrals to contracted hospitals. In Lebanon, the cost of these largely privatized services is extremely high and outpacing UNRWA capacity.
UNRWA operates 14 health clinics and 10 health points throughout Syria, with an additional temporary health point in Yarmouk. UNRWA provided about 750,000 consultations and treatments to Palestine refugees in Syria, including 16,000 hospital referrals, during 2014, according to estimates from November 2014.
UNRWA provides free health care through 27 health clinics throughout Lebanon, and covers 50 per cent of hospitalisation costs. An estimated 10 per cent of Palestine refugee families in Lebanon include one person with a disability, and 47 per cent have at least one family member with a chronic illness.
UNRWA operates 23 health clinics, one health point and four mobile dental clinics throughout Jordan, and fully covers the cost of hospital referrals for emergency and life-saving care for Palestine refugees from Syria. UNRWA provided 22,410 consultations and referrals to secondary and tertiary services in 2014, according to estimates from November 2014.
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.
Click here to 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.