UNRWA seeks US$ 30 million for humanitarian response to Yarmouk and other areas

17 April 2015
On 11 to 12 April, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl undertook an emergency mission to Syria. During his visit, Mr. Krähenbühl heard the personal stories of the civilians displaced from Yarmouk. Tiny Jihad Ya'qoub was born on 30 March 2015; he and his mother have received a baby kit and other essential household items from UNRWA. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad

Jerusalem

UNRWA is seeking an immediate injection of US$ 30 million to provide life-sustaining assistance to the 18,000 civilians from Yarmouk, including 3,500 children, and those affected by conflict and displacement in other areas, during an initial 90 day rapid response. This emergency call for funds forms part of the UNRWA Syria Crisis Appeal, which provides critical humanitarian support to 480,000 Palestine refugees throughout Syria and to those displaced to Lebanon and Jordan.

“This remains a volatile, rapidly changing environment of armed conflict and we must be prepared to respond to those in need, wherever they are”, explains Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, UNRWA Director in Syria.  

Over the past days, UNRWA has significantly expanded its response in areas neighbouring Yarmouk, where civilians from Yarmouk have sought shelter. Yesterday, UNRWA was able to hold a fourth distribution mission to Yalda, an area the Agency previously had not had presence, but which now temporarily hosts hundreds of families displaced from Yarmouk. UNRWA will expand this operation to the neighbouring areas of Babila and Beit Saham in the coming days. Emergency aid is distributed by UNRWA staff and medical personnel have established a mobile health point, treating over 400 patients over the previous days. Assistance is provided to Palestinian and Syrian families displaced by the eruption of violence in Yarmouk, and also host communities of Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham. UNRWA missions deliver a broad range of critical humanitarian materials to each of these families, including food, medical supplies, water purification treatments, mattresses, blankets, family kitchen sets and hygiene kits.

“The cooperation with a wide range of partners, including local leaders and the Syrian authorities, has been constructive,” explains Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, “We are also grateful for support from some key donors, who have fully grasped the urgency of the situation. But the Agency cannot fully respond to this escalation without a major increase in funding.”

The desperate situation in Yarmouk characterizes the severe suffering of civilians trapped in the Syria conflict, and the particular vulnerability of Palestine refugees. Yarmouk has been cut off from the world for almost two years, with the remaining residents deprived of food, water, and subjected to frequent eruptions of armed violence. Despite intermittent distributions of humanitarian aid by UNRWA, the situation in Yarmouk is one of extraordinary misery. Yarmouk is not the only crisis facing Palestine refugees in Syria: UNRWA requires generous contributions to ensure that the needs of 480,000 Palestine refugees in Syria are met.

Addressing the international community, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, in his foreword, describes the urgency of the response. “The eyes of the world are on Yarmouk. But the eyes of all Palestine refugees in Syria are on us. Let us make sure they will not find our resolve wanting.”

Click here to read the full appeal.

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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724