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:

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  • 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

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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.

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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.

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