During 2016 the conflict in Syria has continued with intensity and unpredictability, resulting in further loss of civilian life and material destruction. Of the estimated 450,000 Palestine refugees that remain inside Syria, over 95 per cent (430,000) are in critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance in order to survive. Almost 280,000 are internally displaced, and an estimated 43,000 are trapped in hard-to-reach or inaccessible locations such as Yarmouk, Khan Eshieh, and Muzeireb and Jillin in Dera’a. Delivering vital assistance and services to Palestine refugees remains a major challenge for the Agency.
Over 120,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) have fled the country, including around 31,000 to Lebanon and 16,000 to Jordan. Many PRS in Lebanon and Jordan have been pushed into a precarious and marginalized existence due to their uncertain legal status and face limited social protection, making them heavily reliant on UNRWA for their basic needs.
Within this complex and challenging operating environment, UNRWA will continue to adapt and innovate to ensure that it meets the essential needs of Palestine refugees affected by the Syria crisis, for whom it will remain the main provider of basic relief and humanitarian assistance. The Agency will draw on its existing structures, supply chains and capacities to ensure an effective and agile response to ongoing and evolving needs.
In 2016, US$419.9 million was required to cover the cost of emergency interventions; as of 25 November 2016, only US$226 million had been pledged, corresponding to 54.6 per cent of total funding requirements. With available funds, UNRWA was only able to implement three out of six planned rounds of cash assistance inside Syria and was unable to meet assistance targets in Lebanon; in Jordan, underfunding limited the Agency’s ability to provide winterization support. Livelihoods and vocational training targets were also not fully achieved across all fields.
In spite of these major challenges, during 2016 UNRWA continued to provide life-saving assistance and protection to over 450,000 Palestine refugees affected by the Syria crisis, including inside Syria and in Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza. UNRWA also extended basic health and quality and inclusive education services to Palestine refugees inside Syria and those forced to flee. In total, over 45,000 Palestine refugees were enrolled in UNRWA schools inside Syria, while over 5,300 PRS children were accommodated in Agency schools in Lebanon and 1,400 PRS and Syrians in Jordan. Primary health care was dispensed through 15 UNRWA health centres (HCs), 11 health points (HPs) and one mobile HP inside Syria. In Lebanon, care was provided to PRS through 26 HCs and one HP and in Jordan through 25 HCs and four mobile clinics. Though the Agency’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme short-term courses and professional coaching services were offered in both Lebanon and Jordan to support 313 PRS and Palestine refugees in Lebanon (PRL) and a further 27 PRS in Jordan. UNRWA also continued to deliver potable water, maintain sewerage networks and provide solid waste management in seven accessible camps in Syria out of the nine official camps and three unofficial camps that were serviced prior to the conflict. A similar range of assistance measures to improve the urban camp environment were implemented in Lebanon.
In 2017 UNRWA requires US$ 411 million for its humanitarian response to the Syria crisis. This response will be guided by the following three strategic priorities:
Strategic Priority 1: To preserve resilience through the provision of humanitarian assistance in the form of cash, food and relief items.
Strategic Priority 2: To provide a protective framework for Palestine refugees through helping mitigate their vulnerability by maintaining access to basic services including education; health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and livelihoods and promoting respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL).
Strategic Priority 3: To strengthen humanitarian capacity, coordination and management to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency programme delivery.
Activities described in this appeal are consistent with the priorities and interventions in the 2017 Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the Regional Refugee Resilience Plan (3RP) for 2017-2018. They will be complemented by ongoing operations supported by the Agency’s Programme Budget, particular in the areas of education and health.