Syrian Arab Republic: Jib Al-Shaair/Ar-Raqqa Flash Update No. 1 (25 April 2017)

Situation Report
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  • As of 23 April, SDF-advances in northern Ar-Raqqa had displaced an estimated 39,000 people to Jib Al-Shaair makeshift camp in Ar-Raqqa governorate.

  • Although the IDPs have since been relocated to a better equipped camp south of Ein Issa, as many as 21,000 new IDPs are expected to arrive to Jib Al-Shaair in the coming days.

  • The UN has dispatched readyto-eat food rations, shelter items and non-food items, and hygiene kits to Jin Al-Shaair, and continues to monitor the situation on the ground.

Situation Overview

As of 23 April, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-advancement on northern Ar-Raqqa displaced some 39,000 people to Jib Al-Shaair make-shift camp in Ar-Raqqa governorate, most of whom had already been displaced to northern Ar-Raqqa from Menbij district (Maskana, Deir Hafer and Khafsa) a mere month ago. Due to ongoing military operations, new IDP influx into Jib Al-Shaair make-shift camp is expected, and might reach up to 21,000 people in the coming days.

Jib Al-Shaair camp is a makeshift camp, located one km south of Jib Al-Shaair village, and 32 km northwest of Ar-Raqqa city. The camp covers an area of 1.5 km2 and is located in a non-fenced, deserted area. While some 20 per cent of the IDPs have erected tents or sleep in their vehicles, the majority of IDPs were staying in the open, without appropriate shelter.

IDPs are not permitted to leave the camp until they have completed a security screening with local Kurdish officials, which is particularly problematic for medical cases, as initially no medical services were provided in the camp. The UN has received reports of the death of two children due to a lack of medical care. Additional reports were received of at least four critically injured people, and three sick children under three months old, all of whom are in need of urgent medical assistance. Additionally, diarrhea reportedly spread rapidly in Jib Al-Shaair make-shift camp due to poor hygiene practices and unsafe water.

A canal from the Euphrates River flows south of the camp, but because the area is mined, people are unable to access the stream. Local Kurdish officials are conducting water trucking activities with two tanks on a daily basis, but although the water is distributed for free, it is considered unsafe, as water brought from the canal had originally been designated for irrigation. There are no latrines or bathing facilities available in the camp, which could lead to a deterioration of the health and hygiene situation in the makeshift camp and make women vulnerable to assault.

SDF forces distributed bread bundles and WFP-supplied canned food items to newly arrived families, however, the quantity of the distributed food only covered around 10 per cent of the IDP population.
Most IDPs have so far relied on food items they brought with them, but indicated that they will run out of stocks in the coming days. Additional food assistance is urgently needed in the camp.

The camp is not connected to electricity and does not have a generator. There is no mobile communication coverage in the area.

During an assessment mission conducted on 20 April, a UN facilitator team identified food assistance, tents, clean drinking water, WASH facilities, medical services and NFIs as priority needs.

On 23 April, local Kurdish officials announced their decision that Jib Al-Shaair would become a transit camp and began shifting all IDPs to a new camp called ‘Shahid Aziz’, three kilometers south of Ein Issa town. Conditions in Shahid Aziz are significantly better than in Jib al-Shaair transit shelter, and the camp is more accessible to NGOS for delivery and assessment. The camp has a pre-existing IDP population, yet, exact numbers remain to be confirmed. However, the camp currently only features very few tents, and does not provide suitable shelter for IDPs. On 23 April, different sources indicate that during a dust storm between eight to 23 people died and countless others had to be taken to the hospital due respiratory problems. Shahid Aziz also lacks stable water supply, medical services, and food stuff other than bread.

IDPs newly arriving from ISIL-held territory will be received in Jib Al-Shaair transit camp until their security screening has been concluded, before being allowed to move onwards to Shahid Azaz. As per local Kurdish officials, a total of 1,500 IDPs can be processed through the security screening per day, which means that additional humanitarian assistance will be required for those in transit in Jib Al-Shaair transit camp.

Further south-east of Raqqa, an estimated 80,000 IDPs have also gathered in eight informal settlements in the Karama area during the last 40 days. Despite their proximity to hostilities, humanitarian response efforts are also underway to meet the most urgent needs of these displaced populations.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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