Syria: Humanitarian Response in Al Hol camp, Situation Report No. 3 – As of 1 May 2019 [EN/AR]
This report is produced by OCHA Syria in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 17 April to 1 May 2019.
Situation reports on Al Hol camp are published bi-weekly. The next report will be issued around 20 May 2019.
• As of 1 May, the total population of Al Hol camp is 73,477 with dozens of families recently arrived from other camps in north-east Syria for family reunification as well as persons discharged from hospitals. A total of 64,087 individuals have arrived since 4 December, putting the camp infrastructure under significant strain.
• The vast majority of the camp population is women and children, with around 67% under the age of 18. The leading cause of morbidity among all age groups remains influenza-like illnesses (63.7%) and acute diarrhea. The number of reported cases of both is increasing.
• Partners continue scaling up their response. While population influxes have stabilized, needs remain critical across all sectors – particularly shelter, WASH and protection.
• Work on phase 6 and 8 is currently suspended as a result of discussions with camp authorities on the potential establishment of a separate camp, which would pose a number of challenges to humanitarian organisations. As a result, 15,000 people are still hosted in communal spaces, mainly in phase 7.
• Protection needs persist and are becoming protracted in the absence of immediate solutions to a range of issues related to e.g. the lack or confiscation of civil documentation, the presence of unaccompanied children in need of interim care arrangements and family tracing and reunification and pregnant adolescents. At least 470 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) have been identified of which at least 140 have been reunified to date.
• Elderly people and persons with disabilities are not receiving adequate care and face particular difficulties accessing assistance, including during distributions of relief items. Partners are looking at modalities of distribution and access to facilities to improve accessibility including through the provision of assistive devices, as well as outreach and inclusion.
• IDPs are provided monthly food rations, cooked meals, ready-to-eat rations and bread on a daily basis.
Consequently, food needs are being met despite the current gap in food storage spaces and communal kitchens.
• Access to the Annex hosting foreign families (non-Iraqi), remains regulated by camp authorities and is under enhanced security measures. Dialogue continues between service providers and camp administration. One child protection partner is operational in the annex, while for other actors access remains limited to case-by-case follow-ups, including for family tracing activities. Humanitarian organizations with specific mandates and expertise have been granted access to the Annex thus providing support and pathways towards possible solutions for the foreign population.
• Some 1,900 Iraqi households have registered for repatriation, directly organized by Iraqi authorities and the Camp Administration. However, lack of valid identification documents may constitute an obstacle. An exact timeline for departures is not clear; movements will likely occur in small batches over an extended period of time.
• Tension in phase 5 of the camp hosting most of the relocated population from Baghouz remains high with residents demanding the release of male relatives and to be allowed to return to their areas of origin. A series of demonstrations have taken place in towns and villages in Deir ez Zor province, and the release of residents from Al Hol camp was amongst the most pressing demands.
• Humanitarian partners continue to scale up operations across all sectors and provide life-saving assistance to thousands of IDPs in Al Hol camp. Despite the ongoing expansions and efforts, several challenges remain, particularly with regards to health, shelter and relocation from communal to family tents, WASH, protection and sustained access to the locations where foreign non-Iraqi nationals are settled. Humanitarian actors on the ground carry out regular assessments on conditions in the camp to ensure a more efficient, prioritized response.
• With many still living in collective areas in rub halls and large tents, with little privacy and sometimes poor hygiene conditions, tensions among camp residents are running high. Restrictions on freedom of movement also contribute to tensions.
• The need for specialized psychological support as well as case management by qualified staff, persists. Distress and trauma due to the exposure to hostilities, experience under ISIS control, the effects of indoctrination, particularly amongst older children - requires an in-depth approach. Basic forms of emotional support beyond psychological first aid and the current local capacity and human resources are insufficient.
• Most common concerns expressed by the camp population - detention, family reunification, freedom of movement and options and timeframe of voluntary return – can only be addressed by authorities in control or engaged in processes of return, including neighboring countries (for Iraqi population) and states of origin, for foreign nonIraqi nationals. Advocacy should continue to be pursued at highest level with all relevant stakeholders with regards to respect of international humanitarian law, human rights law, standards of due process in detention, respect for the best interests of the child and other standards of treatment of children associated with armed groups. Standardized messages are being developed to be distributed to staff of humanitarian organisations.
• Looking ahead, with temperatures rising, conditions in the camp are likely to deteriorate including an increased risk of communicable diseases, water shortages and food storage Syria: Humanitarian Response in Al Hol Camp - Situation Report No. 3 | 3 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs www.unocha.org becoming a challenge. Humanitarian actors are planning ahead and exploring preparedness options to face the challenges to come.
• The capacity of health facilities to accept referrals remains very limited. Efforts to increase the availability of medical facilities within the camp, including through the establishment of field hospitals, continue.