Syria crisis situation update (Issue 49)

04 June 2013
Weekly Donors’ Report 2 June 2013
Nearby conflict and displacement of refugees continue to threaten an already vulnerable population, and UNRWA has now provided cash assistance to more than 215,000 refugees in 2013. The Agency provides food, cash and NFIs, in addition to maintaining regular education, health and social services. 235,000 refugees are currently displaced in Syria, with a further 63,200 having fled to Lebanon and Jordan, and UNRWA is also tracking displacement to areas outside its mandate, identifying large refugee populations in Egypt, Turkey and even Gaza. Inside Syria, approximately 8,400 refugees are currently being provided shelter in 21 UNRWA facilities, and many more are being provided accommodation in refugee camp communities.
  • As reported in a separate press release this week, a missile or airstrike on Sbeineh Camp this week killed at least five refugees and caused injuries to at least eight more. At least 12 refugees were killed by shelling and clashes in Damascus this week, with a further 11 injured.
  • Total of 8,400 IDPs in 21 UNRWA facilities across the country as of 29 May. 83% of IDPs are Palestine refugees. 7,840 displaced refugees are in 13 Damascus facilities alone. Increasing numbers of refugees are seeking shelter at UNRWA facilities and refugee camps in Hama, Homs Aleppo city and Lattakia.
  • Ten out of 23 health centres were closed this week, including eight in Damascus. Several health centres are compelled to reduce opening hours due to inaccessibility for staff and patients alike.
  • 79% of 9th Grade students enrolled for exams this month, and a further 1,747 Grade 1-8 students have registered for catch-up classes to be held throughout July for students who have missed significant portions of education in the last academic year.
IDP numbers in UNRWA facilities as of 29 May:

Damascus Training Centre
Damascus (Jaramana Camp)
Damascus (Mezzeh)
Damascus (Khan Eshieh Camp)
Damascus (Ramadan Camp)
Damascus (Dummar)
Damascus (Rukn Eddin)
Damascus (Khan Dannoun Camp)

 4,476 Palestine refugees have been located at 12 non-UNRWA facilities in Damascus, Aleppo and Lattakia, and UNRWA is providing food, NFIs and access to medical services through six mobile health points set up at IDP shelters. 3,016 Palestine refugees have been identified in Hama Camp, having come from Yarmouk and Ein el Tal. 6,412 refugees have made themselves known to UNRWA in Homs Camp, having fled from Aleppo, Damascus and Homs countryside. 3,850 refugees have made themselves known to UNRWA in Latakia, having fled from Yarmouk and Ein el Tal. (Total: 17,754). UNRWA continues to provide regular food and NFI assistance to all displaced refugees who have approached the Agency.
The Education Department reports that out of 4,170 students eligible for the 9th Grade exams, approximately 3,317 received their exam ID, giving a rough indication of the number who managed to attend their end of school exams. Final attendance numbers will be released when the results are announced later in the summer. Where students were unable to attend the examination centre where they studied, they were permitted to sit the exams at the nearest centre. 1,747 students (Grades 1-8) in Damascus have already enrolled for catch up classes in 26 UNRWA schools and 18 non-Agency facilities, to be conducted between July and August. The students will take their end of year exams as a first sitting later August.
Ten health centres are currently closed across Syria, with eight of those in Damascus. A further 13 are either open or partially open due to access difficulties for staff and patients. This week the Damascus medical warehouse received a year’s supply of 19 vital medicines including antibiotics, anti-diabetics and anti-hypertension drugs. Internal procurement has become increasingly difficult due to transportation and security concerns, as well as the closure of many pharmaceutical companies within Syria. This has led to more international procurement, resulting in slower delivery times and substantially increased costs.
Area summary
Damascus / Rif Damascus: Sporadic shelling and clashes continued in many areas of the city this week, including Yarmouk, Sbeineh, Sit Zeinab, Husseiniyeh, Khan Eshieh, Jobar, Qaboun, Barzeh, Harasta and Douma. A suspected rocket or airstrike caused extensive damage in Sbeineh this week, killing at least five refugees and injuring at least eight more. The camp remains completely blocked off by security forces, with some refugees still in the camp. Approximately 20,000 refugees are still left in Yarmouk, and this week one woman was killed by a shell hitting the microbus she was travelling in. Three children were also injured in the incident. Following a reported truce between government and opposition forces, Husseiniyeh was again partially accessible on foot. At least 12 refugees were killed in Damascus this week, and at least a further 11 were injured by shelling.
All facilities remain closed in Jobar, and this week there were unconfirmed reports of chemical weapons being used nearby. Residents of Baghdad Street and Abbassiyin, including UNRWA staff, experienced mild breathing difficulties, burning eyes and irritated skin. Both sides blamed each other, with the government claiming this was the result of an opposition weapons store having been hit, while there were also reports that a match factory had been hit, releasing chemicals into the air and causing the symptoms.
Aleppo: Shelling was heard in several parts of the city, but the Area Office was operational as usual. Ein el Tal continues to be cut off and empty of refugees, with armed opposition groups controlling the area. Clashes and shelling continue around Neirab Camp, but the camp itself remains relatively calm and accessible, and this week the staff bus operating between Neirab and Aleppo was able to start operating again, enabling vital health, education and relief staff to access the camp.
Dera’a: Security operations and clashes were reported in some parts of the town centre over the reporting period, including close to the camp, resulting in the temporary closure of all facilities in Dera’a for several days. One refugee was killed by shelling close to the camp, and another was killed by clashes encroaching upon the camp. Jillien remains relatively calm, and while the main road from Dera’a is blocked, refugees continue to use side roads to access the village. Mzerieb village remains relatively calm, and the border with Jordan, while technically open, is inaccessible due to insecurity in the border area. Hostilities continue around the main road to Damascus, with extremely limited traffic using the route.
Homs: Shelling was reported in areas around Bab Amr, Dar al Baida and al Waer during the first half of this week, but otherwise the city itself remained relatively calm. The camp also remains relatively calm but continuous shelling can be heard from Qusayr to the southwest. This week there were reports that six refugees have been detained by security forces at a checkpoint at the entrance to the camp, and there were also reports that another refugee has been kidnapped in the city, with no further information available at present. Telephone landlines were operational this week for the first time in five months.
Hama: The town and camp remained relatively quiet over the reporting period and all facilities remained operational. There are now 42 refugees receiving shelter in UNRWA facilities in Hama Camp.
Lattakia: The situation remains calm and UNRWA continues to deliver services. Refugees are reportedly still arriving from Ein el Tal, and UNRWA is providing shelter to 206 displaced refugees in its facilities.
Palestine Refugees from Syria in Lebanon
There are currently an estimated 56,500 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) in Lebanon at present, or approximately 16,500 families. The current location of refugees is spread between Saida (31%), Beqaa (21%), Beirut (17%), Tyre (17%) and the north (14%).
Palestine Refugees from Syria in Jordan
As of 29 May 2013, UNRWA has recorded 1,766 Palestinian families of concern to the Agency. Currently, 197 Palestinians reside in Cyber City, the government appointed facility in Irbid governorate. 
622 students are attending UNRWA schools.
UNRWA continues to receive reports of 150 PRS stuck in the Dera’a area and of the escalating humanitarian situation on the Syria side of the border where reports indicate thousands remain stranded, unable to flee to safety in Jordan.
Health Services
  • The 1,766 families of PRS living in communities in Jordan are served by UNRWA primary healthcare centers for primary health services and referred to Ministry of Health hospitals for hospital services. PRS are subsequently reimbursed by UNRWA for the total cost of Secondary and Tertiary Health care services.
PRS Monthly PHC Visits by type – August 2012-April 2013 (Total of 5,015 visits)
  • 5,015 primary health care consultations were provided to PRS in Jordan over the period August 2012 – April 2013 totaling $44,137.
  • The 197 refugees living in Cyber City Government hosting premises are served by Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS) through an agreement with UNRWA whereby the total cost of health care services to PRS is charged to UNRWA. Moreover, UNRWA provides regular medical supplies to JHAS clinic and oral health services through mobile dental clinic costing $18,857 over the period August 2012-April 2013.
  • 130 Hospital Admissions were provided to PRS in Jordan during the same period August 2012 – April 2013.
  • The total monthly PHC visits increased 5 times by April 2013 when compared to the number in August 2012(1,166 in April 2013 versus 223 in August 2013).
Budget adjustments and additional funding will be necessary due to increasing numbers of PRS seeking services and increasing operational costs, particularly for cancer and renal failure patients.
2013 Response Plan (January 2013 – June 2013):
·         The total pledged amount against the 2013 Response Plan now stands at US$ 78.1 million, equivalent to 85.6% of the total budget of the 2013 Response Plan required (US$ 91.24 million).
·         Another US$ 12.1 million are currently under discussion with several donors.


Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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