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Syria Regional Response Plan (January - December 2013)

Donors, 7 June 2013

© UNHCR/B.Sokol
Syrian refugee children take shelter against the cold and fog shortly after arriving in Jordan early in the morning in November 2012

Since the launch of the last Regional Response Plan (RRP) in December 2012, an additional one million Syrians have become refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. This makes it the fastest growing refugee crisis this year. With little prospect of being able to safely return to their homes in the short term and growing hardship in host countries, Syrians face desperate circumstances. At the same time, the Governments of the region hosting Syrian refugees and the humanitarian community face an increasingly challenging and complex humanitarian crisis which, beyond refugees' immediate protection and assistance needs, threatens the balance of the entire region.

Over 1.5 million Syrian refugees are now hosted across five countries, each with its own set of domestic priorities and concerns in which events in Syria and the influx of refugees are increasingly playing a central role. Based on arrival trends since the beginning of the year, it is estimated that the number of Syrian refugees in need of assistance across the region may reach 3.45 million by the end of 2013, hosted in camps and, for the most part, in local communities.

For Lebanon and Jordan, the two countries hosting the highest number of refugees both in absolute terms and relative to their own population, this generosity has come at a heavy price, not least for the many communities welcoming refugees. Acknowledging the fact that the response in these countries needs to address the wider impact of the refugee influx, the inter-agency response plans of Lebanon and Jordan are presented alongside plans developed by these Governments in close coordination with the humanitarian actors on the ground in order to ensure the compatibility and non-duplication of activities.

The numbers presented in this Plan are staggering. They represent a tragedy for Syria, but also give an indication of the burden placed on the recipient countries. This is also recognized in the overarching priorities for this response, namely:

1. Protection (Access to asylum and registration; Child Protection; Sexual and Gender-Based Violence)

2. Life-Saving Assistance

3. Access to Basic Services

4. Durable Solutions (Humanitarian Admissions and Resettlement)

5. Preparedness

6. Community Outreach: support to urban refugees and host communities

The total financial requirements in this Regional Response Plan amount to close to US$ 3 billion for international agencies and NGOs and an additional US$ 830 million for the Governments of Jordan and Lebanon.

For decades, Syria and the Syrian people have generously hosted thousands of refugees from the Arab World and beyond. In 2012, Syria was the third largest asylum country in the world. It is time to extend the same support to the Syrian people in these difficult times. International solidarity must be urgently reinforced. By taking in thousands of new refugees every day, the countries on the frontline of this crisis are doing the region and indeed, the world, an extraordinary service. Helping them deal with the consequences of the refugee crisis is imperative.

Syria Regional Response Plan January December 2013

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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

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