Where We Work

Syria
Syria
Over half a million registered refugees… more than 50% displaced

Camp Profiles

Ein el-Tal camp is on a hillside 13km north-east of the city of Aleppo in the Syrian Arab Republic. Archive photo of two men

The camp, also known as "Hindrat" (after a nearby village), was established in 1962 on an area of 0.16 square kilometres. Most of the inhabitants are refugees who fled from northern Palestine.

Most of the refugees are casual labourers or teachers in local schools.

UNRWA and the Syrian Government have agreed a two-phase improvement plan, involving Ein el-Tal camp and the nearby official Neirab camp. As part of this, each shelter has been connected to a camp-wide sewerage system, which alleviates the prevalence of diseases such as leishmaniasis, a vector-borne skin disease transmitted by flies feeding on waste water.

Part of the overall rehabilitation project was to improve the infrastructure throughout Ein el-Tal, including roads, and water and electricity supply. Paved roads allow local transport to serve the camp for the first time.

Ein el-Tal does not have a local market, so food and other items are bought from mobile vendors that come to the area or individual shops in the camp.

Statistics
  • More than 6,000 registered refugees
  • Three schools, one running double shifts
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of demographic profile for Ein el-Tal
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Microcredit
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Water shortages
  • Shelters in the old camp are in need of rehabilitation
  • Single-shift school lacks facilities
  • Absence of offices for the social workers

*A number of so-called unofficial refugee camps were established over time by the host governments to provide accommodation for Palestine refugees. In all respects, refugees in official and unofficial camps have equal access to UNRWA services, except that UNRWA is not responsible for solid waste collection in the unofficial camps.

  1. Homs camp lies within the town of Homs, 160km north of Damascus.

Woman using sign languageThe camp was established in 1949 on an area of 0.15 square kilometres, adjacent to al-Baath University. Most of the original refugees fled from the villages surrounding Haifa , Tabaryeh and Acre in northern Palestine.

Today, most refugees are wage labourers, local civil servants or street vendors.

Poor environmental health is a major concern as it affects the quality of life and poses health risks for the refugees. The sewerage system needs to be expanded to cope with the increasing camp population.

Two old school buildings are in a dilapidated condition and have major structural defects. UNRWA's main priority in the camp is to reconstruct the schools to provide improved facilities for the refugee children.

Statistics
  • More than 22,000 registered refugees
  • Six double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One small community-based organsisation (women’s programme centre and disability centre)
  • One learning resource centre office
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Homs demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
  • Engaging Youth project
Major problems
  • Drug addiction
  • Housing problems
  • High unemployment rate
  • Poverty
  • Overcrowding

Hama camp lies within the town of Hama, 210km north of Damascus.

Women and children

The camp was established in 1950 on an area of 0.06 square kilometres overlooking the Orontes river. Most of the refugees had fled from the villages surrounding Haifa and Acre in northern Palestine.

Most employed refugees are wage labourers or shopkeepers.

Environmental health in the camp is a serious problem and the mechanisation of solid waste disposal is one of its most pressing needs. The sewerage system is antiquated and does not meet the requirements of a growing camp population. The schools, built in the 1950s, are in poor condition. UNRWA's main priority in the camp is to reconstruct the schools to be able to provide better educational facilities for the children.

Statistics

  • More than 8,000 registered refugees
  • Four double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre outside the camp
  • One health centre
  • One community-based organisation centre
  • One Engaging Youth project centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Hama demographic profile

Programmes in the camp

  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
  • Engaging Youth project

Major problems

  • High unemployment rate
  • Poverty
  • Overcrowding
  • No playground, garden, or agricultural centre

Jaramana camp is 8km from Damascus on the road to Damascus International Airport.

Boys eating icecream on rubble

The camp was established in 1948 on an area of 0.03 square kilometres. In 1967, Palestinians who had taken refuge in the Golan Heights and were displaced as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war moved into the camp.

Jaramana’s main problem and concern is the demolition of shelters by the government due to construction of a highway to Jaramana.

This also affects UNRWA’s installations. Parts of the community centre, health centre, sanitation office, the newly installed sewerage network, urban development projects and schools have been vacated.

A large number of refugee families were moved either to the nearby new government housing project at al-Husseineh or in shelters in the nearby villages and camps.

Many of the refugees are street vendors, while others work in nearby industrial plants. Some inhabitants find work in the informal sector through collecting garbage for recycling. The majority of women are domestic workers in Damascus to supplement family income.

Statistics
  • More than 18,658 registered refugees
  • Six double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Jaramana demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Lack of access to loans
  • Shelters need upgrading
  • High unemployment rate
  • Education level decreasing
  • Marriage between relatives
  • Widespread early marriage and divorce
  • Relocated refugees living in rented houses
  • Lack of compensation for refugees whose shelters were demolished
  • Exposure to disease from scavenging through discarded materials.

Khan Dunoun camp is near the ruins of Khan Dunoun, which was built several centuries ago to give overnight accommodation to trading caravans on the ancient route between Jerusalem and Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).

Boys on street corner

In 1948, the ruins provided shelter for refugees from villages in northern Palestine.

The camp, which is 23km south of Damascus, was officially established in 1950-1951 on an area of 0.03 square kilometres.

Khan Dunoun is one of the poorest camps in Syria. Most refugees are farm workers on Syrian-owned lands; others are wage labourers, while a few commute to industrial plants.

Many families have difficulty in meeting even their most basic needs. The pressure on young people to leave school early to contribute to the family income means a generally low level of education in the camp. This is especially true of women, who find jobs as house cleaners or workers in clothing factories.

There is a relatively high incidence of illnesses associated with poor environmental health conditions, and a high incidence of inherited diseases such as thalassaemia and sickle-cell anaemia. This is difficult to combat because in such a poor community marriage between first cousins is common and marriages outside the extended family are unaffordable for many.

A lack of proper sanitation facilities is the most pressing problem in the camp. Wells, dug without official permission, have dried up due to lack of rain and constant over-exploitation of the ground water. Many refugees now buy water from mobile tankers operating in the area, but the water is not always safe for human consumption.

The camp also lacks a sewerage system and shelters only have pit latrines. The proximity of pit latrines to water wells poses a major health hazard for camp residents as well as for neighbouring villages. A camp infrastructure improvement project has installed water and sewage networks, roads, water and wastewater systems.

Statistics
  • More than 10,000 registered refugees
  • Four double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Khan Dunoun demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Unpaved roads
  • Water problems
  • Overcrowded households
  • High school drop-out rate
  • Health problems because of intermarriage.

Latakia camp is an "unofficial" camp located within the city boundaries of Latakia on the Mediterranean coast. Refugees walking along beach

The camp was established in 1955-1956 on an area of 0.22 square kilometres. Most of the refugees originally came from the city of Jaffa and villages in northern Palestine.

Fishing provides a small income for many refugees. They occasionally work as casual labourers in the port. Seasonal employment in the tourism sector is also common.

High humidity and erosion due to the camp's proximity to the sea have made most shelters in need of rehabilitation. UNRWA's main priority in the camp is to improve the condition of refugee shelters.

Statistics
  • More than 10,000 registered refugees
  • Four double-shift schools in two buildings
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One women’s programme centre
  • Engaging Youth project office
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Latakia demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Microcredit
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
  • Engaging youth project
  • Healthy camp
Major problems
  • Drug addiction
  • Housing problems
  • High unemployment rate
  • Poverty
  • Chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cardiac and lung diseases)
  • No playground, disability centre or garden

*A number of so-called unofficial refugee camps were established over time by the host governments to provide accommodation for Palestine refugees. In all respects, refugees in official and unofficial camps have equal access to UNRWA services, except that UNRWA is not responsible for solid waste collection in the unofficial camps.

Khan Eshieh camp is beside the ancient ruins of Khan Eshieh, 27km south-west of Damascus.

Archive photo of Khan Eshieh camp

The Khan historically served as an overnight shelter for trade caravans on the road between Damascus and the southwest.

This Khan provided shelter for the first refugees from Palestine in 1948. The camp was established in 1949 on an area of 0.69 square kilometres.

Most refugees are originally from the northern part of Palestine. Many of them are now well educated and work as teachers or civil servants. Others are employed as farm workers on Syrian-owned lands and manual workers at the nearby workshops.

Statistics
  • More than 20,000 registered refugees
  • Four double-shift schools and two single-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre
  • One youth centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Khan Eshieh demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
  • Engaging Youth project
Major problems
  • Insufficient water
  • Substance and alcohol abuse, leading to violence among young people

Neirab camp is the largest official camp in Syria and is 13km east of the city of Aleppo near the Aleppo airport.

Street scene

The camp was established between 1948-1950 for refugees from northern Palestine on 0.15 square kilometres in and around army barracks constructed by the Allied Forces during World War II.

The refugees found shelter in the barracks, which they divided up, initially with sheets and later with plywood and hollow bricks to provide some privacy and to accommodate their growing families.

Today, most refugees are casual labourers. Others work informally as street vendors.

While UNRWA has been able to make essential improvements and maintenance to the barracks, the housing situation in Neirab remains deplorable, and many of the shelters are the most unhealthy and unsafe among the camps in Syria.

The poor construction of the barracks results in scorching temperatures in summer and freezing conditions in winter. Water leakage and rodent infestation remain a problem for the refugees. The quality of life is also affected by the lack of privacy. The camp's streets are the only place for children to play and even they are often no wider than the span of a child's arms. UNRWA's main priority in the camp is to provide better housing.

UNRWA and the Syrian Government are carrying out a two phase improvement plan, involving Neirab camp and the nearby Ein el-Tal camp.

The first phase of the project included house construction for 300 families to move from Neirab to Ein el-Tal, to reduce overcrowding in Neirab. Water and sewage disposal networks, roads and pathways in the existing and the new residential areas will be installed.

In the second phase, the barracks area of Neirab camp will be reconstructed for the remaining families. Open spaces will be developed for the community’s commercial and recreational use. The Palestine refugees themselves are directly involved in the planning phase and carrying out the project.

Statistics
  • More than 20,500 registered refugees
  • Eight double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Neirab demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Microcredit
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Poverty
  • Drug addiction
  • Unemployment
  • High divorce rate
  • Poor housing conditions in the barracks
  • Old kindergarten in need of reconstruction
  • Lack of opportunities for self-development
  • Widespread leishmaniasis, a skin disease acquired from waste water.

Qabr Essit camp, 15km from Damascus, is near the town of Sayyedeh Zeinab (granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad).

Women on street

Her shrine is at a mosque in the town and is a site of pilgrimage. This camp was established in 1948, but the majority of the residents came in 1967.

Qabr Essit was established on an area of 0.02 square kilometres. The inhabitants, who were displaced from the Quneitra Governorate in the Golan Heights during the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, sought refuge for the second time in their lives in Qabr Essit. Most had originally fled to the Golan Heights in 1948 from nearby villages in northern Palestine.

Most of the refugees work as casual labourers or street vendors.

There is a high incidence of inherited diseases such as thalassaemia and sickle-cell anaemia, which are difficult to combat in a poor community where marriage between first cousins is common. Marrying outside the extended family is unaffordable for many.

Poor sanitation is a major problem in the camp, and there is a relatively high incidence of illnesses associated with poor environmental health conditions. The sewerage system is antiquated and requires upgrading to cope with the demands of an increasing refugee population.

Statistics
  • More than 23,700 registered refugees
  • Four double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Qabr Essit demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Microfinance
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Water problems
  • Overcrowded households
  • High number of school dropouts
  • Health problems because of intermarriage

Sbeineh camp is situated beside Sbeineh town, 14km south of Damascus.

Archive photo of woman washing clothes outside tent

The camp was established in 1948 on an area of 0.03 square kilometres in what has become a busy industrial area. It also accommodates Palestine refugees who were displaced as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The majority of refugees work in Sbeineh's factories and industrial plants. Although they are themselves landless, others keep their ancestors’ agricultural heritage alive, working as day labourers or seasonal harvesters of crops on Syrian-owned farms. Women often work as housemaids in Damascus to supplement family income.

As in other camps, water and sanitation management remains one of the biggest problems. The sewerage system needs to be expanded and upgraded to cope with the increasing camp population. The camp lacks a properly piped water network and refugees have relied on local wells as their main water source. Wells have been drying up due to the semi-drought conditions in recent years and the refugees have had to buy water, usually of poor quality, from other sources.

Statistics
  • More than 22,600 registered refugees
  • Six double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Sbeineh demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Divorce
  • Blood disease
  • Drug addiction
  • Early marriage
  • Water problems
  • Overcrowded households
  • High rate of school dropouts

Yarmouk camp is home to the largest Palestine refugee community in Syria.

Children in classroom

It lies 8km from the centre of Damascus and is inside the city boundaries. Yarmouk resembles an urban quarter, and it looks very different from the other Palestine refugee concentrations in Syria.

Yarmouk was established in 1957. It occupies an area of 2.1 square kilometres to accommodate refugees who were scattering in mosques, schools and other public places.

Over the years, the refugees have improved their shelters and added more rooms to them. Today, the camp is crowded with cement block homes, and is densely populated. Three main roads lined with shops and crammed with service taxis and microbuses run through Yarmouk.

Many of the refugees in Yarmouk are professional, working as doctors, engineers and civil servants. Others are employed as casual labourers and street vendors. Overall, living conditions in Yarmouk are far better than those of the other Palestine refugee camps in Syria.

Statistics
  • More than 148,500 registered refugees
  • 28 double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • Three health centres
  • Two community centres
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Yarmouk demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
  • Microcredit and microfinance
Major problems
  • Air pollution
  • Domestic violence
  • High rate of drug addiction
  • Increasing rate of child labour
  • Deplorable and hazardous shelters
  • Living costs disproportionate to income
  • High rate of early marriage and divorce
  • Increasing rate of early school dropouts
  • Lack of environmental health awareness
  • Lack of potable water in certain areas of the camp
  • High unemployment rate and lack of job opportunities
  • Health problems caused by economic and psychological pressure

*A number of so-called unofficial refugee camps were established over time by the host governments to provide accommodation for Palestine refugees. In all respects, refugees in official and unofficial camps have equal access to UNRWA services, except that UNRWA is not responsible for solid waste collection in the unofficial camps.

Dera'a refugee camp is located north of Dera’a City and is locally divided into three parts: northern, emergency and old. Palestinian refugees came to the Dera’a area in two waves in 1948 and in 1967.

The older part of the camp, which is next to the town of Dera'a near the Jordanian border, was established in 1950-51 for refugees from the northern and eastern parts of Palestine following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. The camp was set up on an area of 0.04 square kilometers.

Next to the old camp is the newer part, which was set up in 1967 for some 4,200 Palestine refugees who were forced to leave the Quneitra Governorate in the Golan following the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.

The whole camp is set up on an area of 1.3 square kilometers and is surrounded by the wholesale-vegetable marketplace, Dera’a national museum and al-Basel Park from the north, Dera’a industrial area from the east, al-Zaidi Valley from the south and by government premises and Central marketplace from the west.

The camp is situated in a fertile area and many residents are farm workers on Syrian-owned lands. Others are employed as wage labourers, government workers and a few as UNRWA staff. About 10,500 Palestine refugees live in the camp and more than 17.500 Palestine refugees live in neighbouring Syrian villages.

UNRWA also runs six schools and a health centre in the neighbouring villages of Jillin and Muzeireeb.

The Agency is currently looking for funding to repair and expand the sewage system in the camp. The old cement pipes used for the sewage system are broken, causing water to seep under the houses, destroying numerous shelters. Improving environmental conditions remains one of Dera'a’s most urgent needs.

Statistics
  • More than 10,000 registered refugees, with 17,000 more in surrounding villages
  • One single-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • Two health centres
  • One women’s programme centre
  • One kindergarten
  • One community-based rehabilitation centre
  • One Engaging Youth centre
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Dera'a demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Microcredit
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
Major problems
  • Shortage of drinking water in summer
  • Lack of a proper sewage system
  • High rate of school dropouts and child labour
  • Child labour
  • Overcrowded households
  • Crowded houses lack ventilation
  • Drug addiction

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