UNHCR and partners seek US$193 million to help Syrian refugees

News Stories, 28 June 2012

© UNHCR/F.Juez
Syrian refugees receive supplies from UNHCR in northern Lebanon.

Revised Syria Regional Response Plan June 2012

GENEVA, June 28 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency and more than 40 other humanitarian aid organizations on Thursday appealed to donors for urgent new funds to help meet the needs of growing numbers of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

They had originally appealed in March for US$84.1 million, but said increasing numbers of refugees meant US$193 million would now be needed to help the almost 100,000 Syrian refugees. This figure is more than double the number in March and more people keep leaving their beleaguered country.

"The governments and host communities of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have shown tremendous generosity and hospitality to Syrian refugees," said Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR's regional coordinator for Syrian refugees. "It is essential that the international community steps up its support for relief operations for refugees."

In the last three months, humanitarian agencies in neighbouring countries have been registering an average of more than 500 Syrian refugees a day. The updated appeal anticipates that by the end of 2012, there could be 185,000 refugees, due to new arrivals and existing refugees in neighbouring countries requesting assistance or protection.

Moumtzis noted that around 75 per cent of Syrian refugees were women and children. "Most are entirely dependent on life-saving humanitarian assistance," he stressed.

In Jordan and Lebanon, most refugees live among host communities, with a small number in Jordan living in transit facilities close to the border. In Turkey, Syrian refugees are hosted in camps provided by the government. In Iraq, the majority are living in the Kurdistan region, with increasing numbers moving to Domiz camp in the northern province of Dohuk.

The original appeal anticipated that only 1,500 Syrians would flee to Iraq. However, by mid-June, more than 6,000 Syrian refugees had been registered in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, increasing numbers are reported to have arrived in central and southern Iraq. In the past month the Kurdistan Regional Government made the decision that all Syrian refugees should be hosted in camps. Two thirds are awaiting relocation at Domiz camp.

Fior Iraq, the fresh appeal outlines shelter, registration, protection, food, water, sanitation, health and education support for refugees in camps as well as assistance for those remaining in urban areas.

In Jordan, more than 27,000 Syrian refugees have registered with UNHCR. Local charities estimate that around 50,000 Syrian refugees are currently receiving assistance. Registered Syrian refugees are granted free access to health services and their children are welcomed in local schools. The appeal identifies the main needs of refugees in Jordan as being rental payments, basic household items, access to health care, water and sanitation, food and education. Support to host communities is also planned.

In Lebanon, more than 29,000 Syrian refugees are being assisted. Many live with host families, who themselves struggle to make ends meet. Among the most pressing needs are permission to move freely, food and basic household items, shelter, medical care, education and psychosocial support.

In Turkey, 33,000 Syrian refugees are hosted in camps in the four border provinces of Hatay, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep and Kilis. New arrivals are rapidly settled in the camps prepared by the Turkish authorities and set up by the Turkish Red Crescent. Assistance to Syrian refugees in camps and technical advice to the government of Turkey is envisaged within the appeal. In addition, support for the increasing number of Iraqi and Somali refugees who have fled Syria for towns and cities in Turkey is planned.

The plan is a result of the coordinated efforts of 44 international and national agencies involved in responding to the needs of Syrian refugees in four countries, as well as support to host communities. This includes UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as host governments and local and international NGOs.

UNHCR and partners continue to assist some 90,000 mainly Iraqi refugees in different parts of Syria.



Syrian Refugee VoicesPlay video

Syrian Refugee Voices

UNHCR joins a call to donors for US$193 million to assist Syrian refugees this year. The revised appeal is a response to the growing numbers of people leaving the country.

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UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to the Syrian capital Damascus on 2 October, 2009 to meet Iraqi refugees two years after her last visit. The award-winning American actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, took the opportunity to urge the international community not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who remain in exile despite a relative improvement in the security situation in their homeland. Jolie said most Iraqi refugees cannot return to Iraq in view of the severe trauma they experienced there, the uncertainty linked to the coming Iraqi elections, the security issues and the lack of basic services. They will need continued support from the international community, she said. The Goodwill Ambassador visited the homes of two vulnerable Iraqi families in the Jaramana district of southern Damascus. She was particularly moved during a meeting with a woman from a religious minority who told Jolie how she was physically abused and her son tortured after being abducted earlier this year in Iraq and held for days. They decided to flee to Syria, which has been a generous host to refugees.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

As world concern grows over the plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, including more than 200,000 refugees, UNHCR staff are working around the clock to provide vital assistance in neighbouring countries. At the political level, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was due on Thursday (August 30) to address a closed UN Security Council session on Syria.

Large numbers have crossed into Lebanon to escape the violence in Syria. By the end of August, more than 53,000 Syrians across Lebanon had registered or received appointments to be registered. UNHCR's operations for Syrian refugees in Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley resumed on August 28 after being briefly suspended due to insecurity.

Many of the refugees are staying with host families in some of the poorest areas of Lebanon or in public buildings, including schools. This is a concern as the school year starts soon. UNHCR is urgently looking for alternative shelter. The majority of the people looking for safety in Lebanon are from Homs, Aleppo and Daraa and more than half are aged under 18. As the conflict in Syria continues, the situation of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon remains precarious.

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

By mid-September, more than 200,000 Syrian refugees had crossed the border into Turkey. UNHCR estimates that half of them are children, and many have seen their homes destroyed in the conflict before fleeing to the border and safety.

The Turkish authorities have responded by building well-organized refugee camps along southern Turkey's border with Syria. These have assisted 120,000 refugees since the crisis conflict erupted in Syria. There are currently 12 camps hosting 90,000 refugees, while four more are under construction. The government has spent approximately US$300 million to date, and it continues to manage the camps and provide food and medical services.

The UN refugee agency has provided the Turkish government with tents, blankets and kitchen sets for distribution to the refugees. UNHCR also provides advice and guidelines, while staff from the organization monitor voluntary repatriation of refugees.

Most of the refugees crossing into Turkey come from areas of northern Syria, including the city of Aleppo. Some initially stayed in schools or other public buildings, but they have since been moved into the camps, where families live in tents or container homes and all basic services are available.

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Refugees Onward JourneyPlay video

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Refugees Onward Journey

A transit centre at Vinojug, on FYR Macedonia's border with Greece is where the refugees and migrants pass through on their journey further into Europe. Here UNHCR and partner organisations provide food, water, medical care, psycho-social support and information for refugees who take the train towards the border with Serbia. UNHCR also provides information on how to access the asylum system in the country. In recent weeks, an average of 6,300 refugees pass through the camp every day, yesterday that number grew to 10,000, a record.
Croatia: Sunday Train ArrivalsPlay video

Croatia: Sunday Train Arrivals

On Sunday a train of 1800 refugees and migrants made their way north from the town of Tovarnik on Croatia's Serbian border. They disembarked at Cakovec just south of Slovenia. Most of the people are Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi. Their route to Western Europe has been stalled due to the closing of Hungarian borders. Now the people have changed their path that takes through Slovenia. Croatia granted passage to over 10,000 refugees this weekend. Croatian authorities asked Slovenia to take 5000 refugees and migrants per day. Slovenia agreed to take half that number. More than a thousand of desperate people are being backed up as result, with more expected to arrive later Monday.
Croatia; Destination UnknownPlay video

Croatia; Destination Unknown