As of 1 January 2019
Dera'a refugee camp is located inside Dera’a City, in southern Syria. Palestinian refugees came to the Dera’a area in two waves in 1948 and in 1967.
However, as the recent conflict unraveled, the camp became engulfed by violence and 90 per cent of the camp population had to leave the camp and seek safety in other areas such as Dera’a city, Damascus or Jordan. Most UNRWA services were moved to alternative premises in Dera’a city. Throughout the conflict, UNRWA has managed to keep all services going for Palestine refugees in the south, including health and education, as well as providing cash and food assistance. This is a major achievement as access was often limited and required staff and assistance to cross active front lines.
Dera’a camp and its surroundings returned to government control in the summer of 2018. The camp is now largely destroyed. UNRWA was able to return to Dera’a camp in November 2018 to conduct a needs assessment. Inside Dera’a camp, all premises including three school buildings and a clinic will need substantial repairs or complete rebuilding.
Dera’a camp was home to 10,500 Palestine refugees before 2011. As of November 2018, 400 Palestine refugee families have returned since the camp returned to government hands. The governor of Dera’a has indicated that Palestine refugees will be able to return to the camp in the future.
The camp was initially set up on an area of 0.04 square kilometers, and it now covers an area of 1.3 square kilometers. In addition to the 10,500 Palestine refugees in the camp, there were more than 17.500 Palestine refugees living in neighbouring Syrian villages before the conflict. Most of them worked as farmers on Syrian-owned lands, others were employed as wage labourers, government workers and a few as UNRWA staff.
In addition to the camp, UNRWA has six schools and a health centre in the neighbouring villages of Jillin and Muzeireeb. These have sustained minor damages since 2011 but continue to be in use.
The camp is locally divided into three parts: northern, emergency and old. The older part of the camp was established in 1950-51 for refugees from the northern and eastern parts of Palestine following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. Next to the old camp is the newer part, which was set up in 1967 for some 4,200 Palestine refugees who were forced to leave the Quneitra Governorate in the Golan following the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.
- One Area Office (severely damaged, needs rebuilding)
- Six double shift schools in three buildings (two need major repairs, one needs rebuilding)
- One health centre (needs major repairs)
- One community centre (needs major repairs)
- One women’s programme centre (needs major repairs)
- One kindergarten (needs substantial repairs)
- One distribution centre (rented)
- Emergency assistance
- Relief and social services
REFUGEE CAMPS IN Syria
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