UNHCR aid deliveries reach 300,000 people across Syria

Briefing Notes, 23 November 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 23 November 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR has now delivered vital aid packages to some 60,300 families across the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), benefiting more than 300,000 people. The goal is to provide such assistance to 500,000 people or 100,000 families by the end of this year.

UNHCR aid deliveries so far this month have been made to Hassakeh, Aleppo, Homs and in and around Damascus. The 42-kg family aid packages contain items ranging from blankets and kitchen sets to jerry cans and hygiene materials.

There have been a number of security incidents associated with the ongoing aid distribution, including the hijacking of three trucks during the last week of October carrying some 1,500 mattresses and a fire in an Aleppo warehouse apparently caused by shelling that resulted in the loss of 15,179 blankets, 1,492 hygiene kits, 4,232 kitchen sets, 9,600 jerry cans and 4,881 plastic sheets.

Across the region, meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees in surrounding countries now stands at 442,256 an increase of more than 213,000 since the beginning of September. And this figure does not include the hundreds of thousands more Syrians who did not come forward for registration.

As of yesterday, the number of Syrian refugees either registered or awaiting registration in Lebanon was 127,420; in Jordan 125,670; in Turkey 123,747; in Iraq, 55,685; and in North African countries, 9,734.

In Iraq, the number of those registered or awaiting registration has tripled since September 1st, from 18,700 to more than 56,000. Three quarters of all Syrian refugees in Iraq are in the Kurdistan Region. And nearly half of the registered Syrian refugee population in the country lives in camps. Domiz camp in the northern Kurdistan Region hosts some 18,500 people. Over the past two months, it has received between 500-600 new arrivals daily. Further south, Al Qaim camp in Anbar province now has some 7,500 Syrian refugees.

In Jordan, nearly 4,500 desperate and exhausted Syrian refugees have crossed the border over the past eight days, most of them women and children. Most came from the villages of Hrak, Sawra, Dael, and Qubeit Al Gazal in the southern governorate of Dara'a. Accounts from those arriving speak of large numbers of people having left Dara'a and being either en route to Jordan or planning to cross soon. Our teams on the ground say those arriving over the past week were among the most frightened they had seen so far particularly the women.

Meanwhile, preparations for winter are continuing in Jordan's Za'atri camp with the arrival of the first batch of prefabricated shelters. Each will hold one family. The first refugee families are scheduled to make the much anticipated move from tents to prefabricated shelters early next week. The new shelter project will improve living conditions for some 12,500 Syrian refugees. They will be selected among the most vulnerable cases and families who have been registered with UNHCR longest.

For refugees in urban areas of Jordan, between now and the end of the year, UNHCR will distribute financial assistance to some 9,000 Syrian families in Irbid, Mafraq, and Amman governorates. Of these Syrian families, one in three are female-headed households. It is estimated that this assistance will support approximately 50,000 people, including 1,000 Jordanian host families as temperatures continue to drop throughout the region.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • Ron Redmond (Regional Spokesman) on mobile +962 79 982 5867
  • Mohammed Abu Asaker (Regional Spokesman, Arabic) on mobile + 971 50 621 3552
  • Tala Kattan on mobile +962 777 977 971
  • Aoife McDonnell on mobile +962 795 450 379
  • Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 9120
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Assistance

From life-saving aid to help with shelter, health, water, education and more.

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

Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

The violence inside Syria continues to drive people from their homes, with some seeking shelter elsewhere in their country and others risking the crossing into neighbouring countries. The United Nations estimates that up to 4 million people are in need of help, including some 2 million believed to be internally displaced.

The UN refugee agency has 350 staff working inside Syria. Despite the insecurity, they continue to distribute vital assistance in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Al Hassakeh and Homs. Thanks to their work and dedication, more than 350,000 people have received non-food items such as blankets, kitchen sets and mattresses. These are essential items for people who often flee their homes with no more than the clothes on their backs. Cash assistance has been given to more than 10,600 vulnerable Syrian families.

Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

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