Middle East: Cold Wave - Jan 2015
Winter storm Huda (called Zeina in Lebanon) started sweeping across the Middle East on 6 Jan 2015, bringing heavy snow and rainfall, high winds and freezing temperatures to tens of thousands of refugees living in camps and makeshift shelters across the region. In Lebanon, the Red Cross estimated that close to 1,000,000 people were affected and around 2,000 people would need EMS and search and rescue services (IFRC, 12 Jan 2015). In Jordan's Za'atari camp the extreme weather flooded homes, collapsed tents and forced hundreds to wait out the storms in emergency shelters or with neighbours and relatives (UNHCR, 9 Jan 2015).
On 16 Jan, the Syria Humanitarian Coordinator called on the international community to urgently fund winter response, as the winterization plan, which was launched in October 2014 and targets 3.3 million people inside Syria, remained underfunded by $70 million (OCHA, 16 Jan 2015).
OPT: An initial DREF was launched on the 2nd of February 2015 for CHF 147,131 to cover 1,130 families. A revision of budget and activities was undertaken on the 26th of March 2015, including a second operation for cold wave. As a result, a second allocation was approved on 27 March 2015 for CHF 35,328 to cover additional 350 families.Therefore the total allocation of the DREF remained as CHF 182,459, in order to assist 1,480 families. IFRC, 22 June 2015
A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
“Last year there were many snowstorms,” said Mamdouh, who lives in a tent with his wife Noor and their three children. “I had to stay up at night to remove snow from the top of the tent so that it wouldn’t fall or break.”
Fires are also a major threat for tents in winter. On the coldest nights, families are forced to keep their stoves on to stay warm.
Mamdouh thought he was ready for winter this year. “I received a winter kit from Medair,” said Mamdouh. “I repaired my tent and supported it by adding more wood to the top so it could withstand the snow and wind.”
As temperatures dropped in November with heavy rainfall and strong winds, UNHCR expedited the release of its winter plan to keep vulnerable refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) warm and protected from the cold conditions across the Middle East.
REGIONAL WINTER ASSISTANCE PLAN 2015:
Addressing increased needs during winter of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons
Planning for the humanitarian response to harsh weather conditions must begin well in advance to enable UNHCR to respond in a timely manner.
· UNHCR’s regional winter plan for the Syria situation will address the winter needs of 2.5 million Syrians (1.6 million refugees and 920,000 million IDPs), requiring USD 170 million, out of which USD 137 million was received in contributions by the end of September.
· UNHCR’s winter plan for the Iraq Situation will reach 700,000 Iraqis (almost 100,000 refugees and close to 600,000 IDPs), requiring USD 66 million, out of which USD 30 million was gratefully received in contributions by the end of September.
Official diesel prices increased by 110% from January 2014 to September 2015
Official petrol prices increased by 65% from January 2014 to September 2015
More than 14 million people are now displaced as a result of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The humanitarian appeals for Syria and neighbouring countries in 2015 is only 22% funded.
Faced with limited international support and huge strains on their economies, the countries neighbouring Syria are increasing the entry restrictions for Syrian refugees and people are being turned back at the borders.
Changing Dynamics and Fresh largescale Displacements
The first six months of 2015 has seen fresh fighting, changing dynamics and the massive displacement of over 1 million people, some multiple times, throughout Syria.
A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
FSS 2015 2nd Quarter Highlights
- SEFSec updates
- HPF, winter storm response and SRP gap filler funds
- In depth assessment Gaza MoA
- SRP 2015 mid-year analysis
- Lesson learned Gaza 2014 exercise
- FSS preparedness plan
- 6 FSS meetings : this includes FSS general meetings, FSAU TWGs, and the Steering Committee
The following Operations update highlights
• LRC with the support of its partners’ response to the needs of Syrian refugees and the affected vulnerable Lebanese communities
• PRCS/L Branch response to the needs of Palestine Syrian refugees.
• Announces the intention of IFRC to revise this Appeal by October 2015.
Click to view the interim financial report and revised summary budget
WFP Jordan envisions serving as a catalyst to support the Government of Jordan in improving the national policy framework and action plan for comprehensive management of food security and its implementation. The Government of Jordan has requested WFP to continue support for Syrian refugees and food insecure Jordanians and to assist in meeting some urgent national needs, in addition to transitioning to longer term, sustainable approaches.
A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster An exceptional winter storm, namely ‘Huda’, among the strongest recorded in recent years hit the occupied Palestinian territory on January 6, 2015, bringing heavy snow, rainfall, high winds and freezing temperatures that lasted for five days.
The storm generated flooding in several areas of Palestine and temporarily displaced thousands of people, causing the death of three children and an adult thereby forcing the Palestinian authorities to declare a state of emergency.
“Since I started attending psycho-social sessions, I have learned a lot... I now realize how strong I can be and the important role I can play in my family and community,” said Nawal, a mother of nine children, two of whom are disabled. Due to the conflict, she and her family have had to move from the southern town of Dara'a, further north to Daraya and subsequently to Sahnaya, in the outskirts of Damascus.
Read more on the OCHA website.
“This winter, UNHCR’s supplementary cash assistance assumed a new urgency, and for some refugees, it represented a literal winter lifeline.”
Andrew Harper, UNHCR Representative, Jordan
For the vast majority of refugees in Jordan, those living outside of camps, the winter months represent yet another crisis in their struggle to survive. With most Syrian refugees in urban areas now living under the poverty line and half living in households with no heating, the bitterly cold conditions stretch their capacity to afford even a degree of warmth.
FSS 2015 1st Quarter Highlights
SEFSec new methodology agreed by the FSAU
PCBS and WFP signed the LoA for SEFSec 2014
In-depth Agricultural Damages Assessment in Gaza
Winter storms needs and response
EFSA Agric component survey report finalised
Sector performance evaluation survey
FS Watch new edition
Technical Working Groups review
Steering Committee held in February