Syria humanitarian response (Issue 14)

19 October 2012

19 October 2012
Damascus, Syria

situational overview

Exposure to violence and displacement throughout Syria continues to increase the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees. Based on current assessments, UNRWA estimates that 225,000 Palestine refugees in Syria are directly affected by the conflict. There are currently 1,627 registered Palestine refugees who have fled Syria for Jordan, representing an increase of five per cent since last week. The number of Palestine refugees from Syria who have approached UNRWA in Lebanon is estimated to be approximately 8,000 individuals (1,860 households), representing a seven-per-cent increase since last week.

UNRWA has received requests for cash assistance from approximately 59,000 households in Syria, with projections that the Agency may receive up to 100,000 applications by the end of the year. The rate at which requests for assistance are being presented suggests that the population in need has surpassed the planning figure on which UNRWA‘s Regional Syria Humanitarian Response Plan was based.


At a glance:

  • Clashes have intensified in rural areas around Aleppo (particularly in the north of the city), Idlib, and Homs.

  • Hostilities continue around northeastern and southern areas of Rif Damascus, and after a period of calm the areas surrounding Yarmouk have experienced armed activity, together with parts of Damascus city.

  • There have been clashes inside Hama camp, resulting in the death of one Palestine refugee and injuries to four other refugees.

  • A Palestine refugee was reportedly shot and killed in the vicinity of Ein el Tal Camp.

  • An UNRWA-contracted teacher in Latakia has reportedly been detained.

  • Emergency cash assistance was distributed to 197 conflict-impacted households in Homs.

  • Food rations were successfully dispatched from Damascus to Aleppo.

As a consequence of the conflict, It is estimated that approximately 60 per cent of Palestine refugees in Syria have been displaced, some of them on multiple occasions. Food remains a critical priority for all, and non-food items included in UNRWA‘s response plan (in particular: mattresses, blankets, and cooking sets) are needed. As winter months approach, there will be a need for blankets and other related support, particularly in areas where homes have been severely damaged.

Currently, there are 1,461 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering in six UNRWA school buildings, representing a decrease of approximately ten per cent since 10 October, as many of the displaced families have returned to their homes or moved to other temporary accommodation. The displaced population residing in UNRWA school buildings is predominantly composed of women (approximately 36 per cent) and children (approximately 33 per cent).


Clashes continue in various areas of northeastern Damascus/Rif Damascus, with the majority of incidents reportedly occurring in Erbeen, Hammouriyeh, S‘aba, Jeidet Artouz, and Zamalka. There have been reports of an explosion in the area of Ruken Eddin (north Damascus), followed by a heavy security presence and access restrictions. There have been unconfirmed reports of at least ten deaths on 30th Street in Yarmouk, with elevated levels of hostilities in surrounding areas such as Hajar al Aswad, Tadamon, Qadam, and Yalda. Hostilities continue in adjacent areas, including Essali, Babbila, Hajirah, and the area along the airport road.

Armed elements have threatened UNRWA to suspend school services in Qabr Essit, Douma, Sbeineh, and Dera‘a. Owing to the conflict-related risks to students and staff in the area, UNRWA schools in Qabr Essit have not been functional. UNRWA facilities remain operational with the exception of Qabr Essit and Husseiniyah.

IDPs in UNRWA school buildings in Damascus as of 18 October 2012











Khan Eshieh
















Intense clashes continue around various parts of the city, especially in the suburban and northern areas. The city centre remains relatively calm and the area office has resumed delivery of services following repairs due to a recent vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack. There are growing concerns of restricted access to Nairab and Ein el Tal camps, with recent reports that previously-secure side roads into the camps are now deemed to be unsafe. This week a Palestine refugee died from gunshot wounds close the entrance of Ein el Tal Camp. Despite access restrictions to the camps, UNRWA has recently delivered food baskets to 9,000 households in Nairab, Ein el Tal, and in the city. Facilities in the camps remain operational.

IDPs in UNRWA school buildings in Aleppo as of 18 October 2012











Ein el Tal











This week, shells impacted into the Dera‘a camp and the adjacent Golani camp. There were no reports of injuries during the two incidents of shelling and UNRWA facilities remain operational.


Clashes in the area took place this week, resulting in the death of one Palestine refugee and injuries to four other refugees. The town and camp remain calm and UNRWA facilities are operational.


This week there were reports of an UNRWA teacher detained by security forces. A heavy security presence continues throughout the town. UNRWA facilities are operational.


There has been intermittent shelling outside the camp in the areas of Baba Amr and Sultaniyeh. The city centre remains inaccessible and the main road to Hama is reportedly still blocked, although a side road remains open. The roads to Damascus and Latakia (although the latter not through the city of Homs) also remain open. On 15-16 October, UNRWA distributed emergency cash assistance to 197 conflict-impacted households and there are further plans for cash and food distribution to 3,500 households in the area next week.


There are currently a total of 1,627 registered Palestine refugees who have fled Syria for Jordan, representing a three-per-cent increase since last week. Of this total number, there are 170 refugees based in Cyber City. It is estimated that the majority of Palestine refugees from Syria who have entered Jordan comprises women and children (77 per cent) and that approximately 61 per cent of conflict-impacted households living outside of Cyber City are unable to meet their basic food, household, and medical needs.

UNRWA continues to co-ordinate with international and governmental stakeholders in meeting the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees from Syria who have entered Jordan. The Agency remains concerned about reported cases of refoulement of refugees attempting to cross into Jordan and continues to discuss such cases with the relevant authorities.


The number of displaced Palestine refugees from Syria (DPS) who have approached UNRWA Lebanon is now approximately 8,000. Since the start of education activities for displaced Palestine refugee children last week, the participation rate has been gradually rising to over 50 per cent. UNRWA continues to provide health services to Palestine refugees from Syria. To date, 55 Palestine refugees have received hospitalisation services through referrals from UNRWA doctors in Lebanon. In addition, over 350 households have received services at UNRWA health-care clinics in Lebanon. Distribution continues of non-food items, including bedding, hygiene kits, and cooking sets. Through concerted efforts with the International Confederation of the Red Cross and the Danish Refugee Council, UNRWA aims to distribute essential non-food items to nearly the entire population of displaced Palestinian families from Syria that have entered Lebanon.

current funding requirement

UNRWA is seeking USD 54 million through the revised Regional Syria Humanitarian Response Plan to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees in Syria and those who have fled across Syria‘s borders into neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan. The focus of UNRWA‘s response plan is Syria. UNRWA is seeking USD 44 million for the six-month period from September 2012 to February 2013 to address pressing humanitarian needs. The Agency is also requesting over USD 8 million to support Palestine refugees who have fled to Lebanon, and USD 1.5 million for those currently seeking refuge in Jordan.

So far, and since the launch of the previous regional response plan earlier this year, USD 16.648 million has been received from the United States, Italy, Sweden (Sida), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) through its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and Emergency Response Fund (ERF), the Bizkaia regional government, the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO), and private donors. UNRWA is continuing negotiations with several donors for support to Palestine refugees affected by the crisis.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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