As the Syria conflict approaches its fifth year, UNRWA support to Palestine refugees affected by the crisis is more critical than ever. At the end of 2014, more than 95 per cent of the 480,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria relied on UNRWA to meet their minimum daily needs, including food, cash, health care and shelter assistance. Over 280,000 Palestine refugees have been displaced within Syria, forced flee their homes by the surrounding armed conflict.
This profound vulnerability is deepened by the ongoing degradation and contraction of the Syrian economy. In 2014, the unemployment rate in Syria reached 54 per cent; it is expected to reach 66 per cent in 2015. The cost of food has increased sharply, with the cost of rice rising by 387 per cent since 2011, and 20 per cent since May 2014 alone. Many Palestine refugees, such as the 18,000 trapped in the besieged area of Yarmouk, have been forced to reduce their food intake to one meal a day, while children are frequently pulled out of school to support their families.
An additional 80,000 Palestine refugees from Syria have fled the country, with the majority seeking refuge in Lebanon and Jordan, where their vulnerability is exacerbated by deepening poverty, discriminatory policies and uncertain legal status.
In 2015, UNRWA will continue to share the stories of Palestine refugees from Syria as they struggle to endure their fifth year of humanitarian crisis in Syria.