Syria crisis situation update (Issue 44)

27 April 2013

27 April 2013
Damascus, Syria

Regional Overview

Palestine refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan face increasing humanitarian needs due to growing vulnerability and displacement from areas of armed conflict. Approximately 200,000 refugees are now internally displaced in Syria, 90 per cent of whom have been compelled to flee their homes in Damascus, and the number of Palestine refugees from Syria entering Lebanon and Jordan is now over 42,000 and 6,000 respectively. More than 400,000 refugees in Syria now require humanitarian assistance, with the number expected to rise further. UNRWA has distributed food and non-food items to more than 143,000 refugees and cash assistance to more than 220,000 refugees. More than 8,000 refugees are currently being provided shelter in UNRWA facilities, and many more are being hosted in refugee communities.
  • A slight easing in the intensity of armed conflict was reported in a few parts of the country this week, but at least three refugees were killed by clashes and shelling. Clashes and shelling continue in and around Yarmouk, Husseiniyeh, Sit Zeinab and Khan Eshieh Camp in Damascus, as well as Aleppo and the surrounding countryside.
  • The Health Department reports that during the first quarter of 2013, it provided 130,045 patient consultations. During the same period in 2012 the Department provided 244,164 consultations. These statistics are an indication of the fact that many UNRWA clinics are inaccessible to Palestine refugees on account of the conditions of conflict. UNRWA’s response includes putting in place new arrangements for refugees to access private clinics and government hospitals, and more generous reimbursement of refugees’ health expenses. 
  • UNRWA schools continue to operate wherever possible, and this week an average of 24,453 out of 67,292 students attended regular classes. 48 out of 118 schools are open, with many schools closed across Damascus and in Ein el Tal Camp. Arrangements have been for UNRWA teachers to provide classes in 20 government schools to 11,385 refugee students during the afternoon shift.
  • UNRWA facilities and property continue to sustain damage. One school in Yarmouk was hit by shelling and an UNRWA minibus was hit by stray gunfire this week, resulting in minor damage. In addition two Agency vehicles taken at gunpoint by armed groups. A total of 21 UNRWA vehicles are now missing.
  • UNRWA staff face increasing challenges as they strive to maintain services to Palestine refugees. There are currently 13 staff missing, many presumed detained. Six staff are among the fatalities of the Syria conflict. 
Currently, there are 8,290 IDPs accommodated in UNRWA facilities in Damascus and Aleppo, with the number rising slowly over the past week. Approximately 84% are Palestine refugees and 16% are displaced Syrians. The special needs of vulnerable groups such as 81 pregnant women, 18 of whom are coming to full term, and 58 infants are being met through the assistance provided by UNRWA. Each UNRWA facility is designated an UNRWA social worker and medical officer who are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition to the refugees accommodated in UNRWA facilities, a further 14,000 displaced Palestine refugees have been identified as residing in other collective centres. Displaced communities remain highly vulnerable and dependent on humanitarian assistance for their basic food, NFI and health needs.
IDP numbers in UNRWA facilities as of 24 April:

Damascus Training Centre
Damascus (Jaramana Camp)
Damascus (Mezzeh)
Damascus (Khan Eshieh Camp)
Damascus (Ramadan Camp)
Damascus (Dummar)
Damascus (Rukn Eddin)
Damascus (Khan Dannoun Camp)
Damascus / Rif Damascus: Hostilities continue in several areas of Damascus, but at somewhat lower levels than in recent weeks. Camps in Yarmouk, Husseiniyeh, Khan Eshieh and Seida Zeinab all continue to witness clashes and shelling in the immediate vicinity, with hostilities occasionally spilling over into the camps themselves. At least three refugees were killed as a result this week. UNRWA estimates that there are approximately 187,000 displaced Palestine refugees from the Damascus area.
Aleppo: Airstrikes, clashes and shelling continue in several areas of the city, and the two camps, Ein el Tal and Neirab, cannot be reached as armed opposition groups control access roads. Armed groups have occupied part of Ein el Tal Camp, attracting shelling from government forces. As yet no one has been injured.
Dera’a: The town has remained relatively calm, despite occasional clashes, and this week four students who had been previously detained at an UNRWA school during security operations were released. Mzerieb village continues to operate with reduced staff, due to access difficulties from Dera’a town, but this week refugees were able to return to Jillien village, and the school was operational, staffed by local residents. Access to Dera’a from Damascus is still blocked, and so too is access to the border with Jordan.
Homs: The town and camp remain relatively calm, with some hostilities reported in rural areas around the town and towards the Lebanese border.
Hama: The camp remains relatively calm and UNRWA facilities are operational.
Lattakia: The situation remains calm and UNRWA continues to deliver services.
UNRWA continues to deliver medical consultations and medications through its 28 health centres. Together with donors and partners, UNRWA is covering primary health as well as secondary and tertiary hospitalization but only for emergency and life-saving conditions. While UNRWA covers 50% of tertiary emergency and life-saving conditions to date, almost 40% of the remaining share has been covered by NGO partners.
Since January 2013, 34,103 consultations (visits) in UNRWA health centers have been given to PRS patients. 70% of PRS who approach UNRWA clinics receive medication. Since August 2012 a total of 34,103 PRS individuals have approached UNRWA to register at UNRWA health centers in Lebanon. The number of secondary hospitalizations for life-threatening conditions from January until the end of March is 731 while 29 cases have been covered for tertiary hospitalizations for life-threatening conditions during the same period.
Recently, UNRWA has also started to support PRS patients suffering from catastrophic health conditions though services provided by the CARE programme.  This means that additional support will be provided to patients to cover their expensive medical bills including hospitalization ($8,000 and more) and cancer medications and radiotherapy sessions.
In  addition,  medical  bills  of  patients  suffering  from Multiple  Sclerosis &  Sickle Cell Anemia  & Thalassemia  (11  years  and  below)  will  also  be covered.
 Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Jordan
As of 25 April 2013, UNRWA has recorded 1,463 Palestinian families of concern to the Agency. Currently, 196 Palestinians reside in Cyber City, the government appointed facility in Irbid governorate. 
From 1 January to 24 April 2013, PRS have made 2,562 visits to UNRWA clinics across the Kingdom, 246 of which were in the last week.
622 students are attending UNRWA schools.
PRS Arrivals versus Registrations
From 1 Jan to 24 April 2013, UNRWA registration of Palestine refugees fleeing violence in Syria more than doubled. Unlike UNHCR, which is able to track numbers of Syrians entering Jordan on a daily basis, UNRWA has no such capacity (and/or border access). Tracking of refugee entry dates occurs at the time they register with UNRWA. As refugee resources are depleted, they seek Agency assistance, hence the steady increase in the number of Palestine refugees in Jordan.

Palestine refugees from Syria accessing UNRWA services in Jordan explained that they left their homes for various reasons including: lack of basic services and availability of food, as well as destruction of homes, loss of belongings conflict-related violence and overall insecurity, persecution of family members as well as targeted killings and torture.

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Funding Requirments

2013 Response Plan (January 2013 – June 2013):

  • The total pledged amount against the 2013 Response Plan now stands at US$ 55.6 million, equivalent to 61% of the total budget of the 2013 Response Plan required (US$ 91.24 million). 
2012 Response Plan up to 31 December 2012:
  • Out of the USD 28.9m pledged funds USD 1.9 million remain outstanding (= outstanding installments of 2012 pledges).