Summary and Key Recommendations
Syrian refugees have sought safe haven in Egypt for seven years, since the onset of war. There are now 500,000 Syrians residing in Egypt according to government estimates, and by large they have been treated fairly and with respect by the Egyptian government and citizens. In December 2016, 116,013 Syrian refugees were registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Nonetheless, the protracted nature of the war, together with major structural changes to Egypt’s economy have increased risk factors for refugees. Following the implementation of the recent economic and financial reforms and the floatation of the Egyptian Pound, inflation in the overall Consumer Price Index reached 29.6 per cent at the beginning of 2017. Moreover, inflation in the Food Price Index reached a historic peak of 38.6 per cent, all of which led to increased pressures on households to meet basic needs of food and nonfood items. The humanitarian assistance delivered is essential to address dramatic increases in the vulnerability of Syrian refugees.
The findings of the 2016 Egypt Vulnerability Assessment (EVAR), a comprehensive multi-sector household-level survey of 23,345 Syrian refugee households in Egypt, are presented in this report, which builds upon similar data collected in 2014/2015 to produce a longitudinal perspective that allows for the identification of important patterns. The quantitative nature of the results are triangulated with qualitative data gleaned from 59 focus group discussions undertaken as part of UNHCR’s 2016 Participatory Assessment. Together, the data presented in this report permits humanitarian actors to better identify vulnerabilities and capacities, understand the patterns and relations between variables that affect vulnerability, and ultimately generate sustainable programmes that reduce vulnerability and increase the protection and self-reliance of refugees.
This report demonstrates that challenges for Syrian refugees in Egypt have increased since the onset of the crisis. Refugee household expenditures have increased significantly; personal debt has increased; and financial assets have decreased. Food consumption and food security are below acceptable standards for many refugee households. In addition, the data indicates that difficulties Syrian refugees face in accessing formal labour markets are a major contributor towards their increasing vulnerability.