Syrian Refugees and Food Insecurity in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey: Secondary Literature and Data Desk Review, January - February 2013
Beginning in 2011, Syrians in the hundreds of thousands crossed borders to seek refuge in neighboring countries. The UNHCR reported a tenfold increase in refugee numbers between May and December 2012.2 The situation is evolving rapidly. As shown in Map 1, as of February 6, 2013, the majority were displaced to Lebanon (261,000 persons), Jordan (243,000), Turkey (177,000), Iraq (85,000) and Egypt (15,000).3 As is characteristic of refugees, most of them arrive compromised: The bulk of their personal and economic assets left behind; their livelihoods disrupted while often forced to enter a depressed or restricted labor market in host States; work permits are not readily available as governments are reluctant to have refugees compete with locals for limited labor opportunities, and this hinders the possibility of completely restoring economic independence; they have few shelter options, questionable nutritional status, and may not have access to local markets where they might purchase nutritious and affordable foods.
Under such circumstances, the UNHCR and WFP operating under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2011, conduct a Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) whose primary objective is to document the food security and nutritional situation of refugees. This is done by reviewing the quality and appropriateness of on-going food security and nutrition-related interventions; by identifying effective food security, nutrition and/or livelihood interventions to protect and ensure the food security and nutritional status of refugees; by identifying the timing, location and duration for identified interventions; and assembling data to enable UNHCR and WFP Country Offices (COs) to develop a Joint Plan of Action (JPA).