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.

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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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Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

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

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