International Women’s Day: UNRWA celebrated the resilience of Palestine refugee women in Syria through staged performances at the Damascus Opera House on 23 March. The evening...
The conflict in Syria intensified in 2015, leading to heightened humanitarian and protection needs among an increasingly vulnerable population. Affected communities continue to suffer serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law as a result of indiscriminate and widespread attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Increasing numbers of people have been forced to flee to other locations inside Syria, neighbouring countries or further afield. The Syrian economy remains in deep crisis, as a result of the repeated destruction of its infrastructure, institutions, and physical and human capital. The situation has been exacerbated by sharp price rises, escalating inflation and extremely high unemployment, with coping mechanisms stretched to the limit.
Palestine refugees remain particularly vulnerable and have been disproportionately affected by the conflict, due to their proximity to conflict areas inside Syria, high rates of poverty and the tenuous legal status of those forced to flee to Lebanon and Jordan. An estimated 450,000 of the 560,000 refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria remain inside the country; over two thirds (280,000 people) are internally displaced and an estimated 95 per cent (430,000) are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance. This includes tens of thousands of Palestinians who are trapped in areas of active conflict, such as Yarmouk or Khan Eshieh in Damascus or Muzeirib and Jillin in Dera’a, with extremely constrained access to humanitarian assistance.
Of those who have been forced again into exile, around 42,000 have fled to Lebanon and more than 17,000 to Jordan. The vast majority are living a precarious, marginalized existence, unable to regularize their legal status or access civil registration procedures and basic social services. They are largely dependent on UNRWA for basic subsistence needs, including food and shelter, as well as basic education and health care.
Due to the deterioration of conditions inside Syria and the protracted displacement of Palestine refugees to Lebanon and Jordan, the critical lifeline provided by UNRWA is required more than ever. In 2016, UNRWA needs US$ 414 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in the region.
Read more in the 2016 Syria emergency appeal.
The majority of the 450,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria are internally displaced and remain in continuous need of humanitarian aid. Up to 280,000 are currently displaced inside Syria, with a further 110,000 displaced to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and increasingly, to Europe. 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 2015.
There are 42,000 PRS in Lebanon.
There are 17,000 PRS in Jordan.
Palestine refugees have been among the worst affected by the bloodshed and destruction wrought by the conflict in Syria. The majority of the estimated 450,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria are displaced and 95 percent rely on UNRWA for assistance.
The Agency’s pre-existing structures, supply chains and workforce have enabled an effective response to the crisis, including to the tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who have fled to Lebanon and Jordan.
In 2016, UNRWA needs US$ 414 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in the region.
Read the full 2016 Syria emergency appeal
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 lifeline to Palestine refugee families and communities in peril.
As the brutality and complexity of the conflict grow, so do the humanitarian consequences. The Agency’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 51.2 per cent funding, we are unable to sustain this response.
We will need US$ 414 million in 2016 to meet the bare minimum needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Palestine refugees count on all of us to stand by them until a just and lasting solution can be found to their plight. Your firm support is ever more critical and appreciated as 2016 looms dark in Syria with greater challenges and hardship.