UNRWA Syria crisis situation update Issue 32, 1 February 2013

Regional Overview

The escalation of violence in Syria continues to result in a rapidly rising death toll and significant displacement of Syrians and Palestine refugees. Since the launch of UNRWA's Syria Crisis Response 2013, it is estimated that the numbers of Palestine refugees in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance has reached 400,000 , more than three quarters of the total population of Palestinians in Syria. Approximately 20,000 Palestine refugees have sought safety in Lebanon. The armed conflict in Syria has also led to a large refugee flow to Jordan, bringing the number of registered Palestine refugees there to 3,448 individuals.

Syria

  • This week at least 13 refugees have died due to violence in Syria, including the spouse of a staff member in Dera'a;
  • In Damascus, hostilities continue around a number of camps, namely Yarmouk,
    Sbeineh, Seita Zaynab and Husseiniyah;
  • Hostilities continue to the southwest of Damascus, around Darayya, and increasingly in the vicinity of Khan Sheikh. At least two UNRWA schools have been damaged in the area;
  • Three area staff members that had previously been reported as either detained or missing/presumed detained, were released this month. A total of eight area staff members remain in detention or are presumed missing.

Despite ongoing violence in Syria and limited humanitarian access to areas of civil unrest, UNRWA continues to deliver humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Palestine refugees.

Since the start of the conflict in March 2011, UNRWA’s network of over 3,600 area staff members has provided 28,652 refugee households with food parcels, 7,399 mattresses, 12,759 blankets, and cash assistance for 54,040 families. Vulnerable groups such as female-headed households, children and the elderly have been prioritized for assistance, particularly to protect them during the cold winter season.

It is estimated that over half of Palestine refugees in Syria have been displaced, many of whom have sought refuge with host families and in government or UNRWA facilities. Currently, there are 8,480 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA facilities in Syria where they are dependent on humanitarian aid to survive. The poorest Palestine refugees who may not have the means to flee areas of civil unrest are extremely vulnerable.