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Joint Assessment for Syrian Refugees in Alexandria, Egypt, February 2013

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Introduction

The unrest in the Syrian Arab Republic has been mounting since March 2011 leading to displacement of large numbers of civilians. As of early June 2012, external displacement has increased dramatically to neighboring countries including Egypt.

The Government of Egypt ratified the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol in 1981, as well as the 1969 OAU Convention governing specific problems of refugees in Africa in 1980. However, it has not developed any domestic asylum procedures and therefore in accordance with the 1954 MOU between UNHCR and the Government of Egypt, the functional responsibilities for all aspects related to registration, documentation and refugee status determination are carried out by UNHCR’s Regional Representative in the Arab Republic of Egypt, based in Cairo.

During 2012 and in the beginning of 2013, there has been a sharp increase in the numbers of Syrians registered with UNHCR. 6000 individuals were registered up to the end of 2012, while the current total of 19,850 as of February 23, 2013. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of November 2012, 100,000 Syrians reside in Egypt. However, It is estimated that there could now be as many as 150, 000 Syrians in Egypt.

As the second largest urban center in Egypt, Alexandria was identified as a key location hosting Syrians. Syrians have come to the area due to its size, due to an existing social network, and/or because it is less expensive than Cairo. In addition to central Alexandria, this assessment includes two areas on the outskirts where a large number of Syrians reside, Borg Al Arab and Agami. These areas are in fact quite distinct and require travel of up to one hour to reach central Alexandria. The report should be read in this context.

This joint assessment in Alexandria, which took place on the 11-14 February, 2013 is part of an ongoing inter-agency effort to assess the needs of Syrians in Egypt. UNHCR, WFP, IOM, UNICEF, CARITAS and CRS participated in the assessment. The assessment in Alexandria follows a Joint Assessment for Syrian Refugees in Egypt conducted by UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF in November 2012.

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