· Ten years into the crisis, the Syrian refugee crisis remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with more than 5.5 million registered refugees across the five main Syrian-refugee hosting countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
· In 2020, countries neighboring Syria continued to demonstrate extraordinary generosity despite the economic downfall resulting from COVID-19 pandemic (some of them recorded a loss of 8 to 15 percentage points (p.p.) in real GDP growth), and rising levels of unemployment and poverty impacting children and women worst. Refugees are often among the most affected. In Lebanon, poverty increased by around 33 p.p. among the Lebanese community and by as much as 56 p.p. among Syrian.
· UNICEF and the ministries of health continued to support Syrian mothers and children with essential maternal and child health and nutrition services . With UNICEF support, more than 415,000 children received scheduled vaccinations, in and outside camp settings, despite pandemic -link lockdowns.
· By mid-March 2020, almost all schools in the region were closed, putting children learning and well -being at risk. UNICEF was instrumental in supporting Ministries of Education by providing alternative solutions to keep learning ongoing, reaching over 1 million refugee children with distance or home-based learning at the height of the pandemic.
· Increased poverty, reduced social interactions and limited access to services, exacerbated pre-existing children vulnerabilities and gender-based violence (GBV). Using community-based and awareness-raising activities as an entry point for the identification and referral of children-at-risk, UNICEF was able to reach more than 250,000 children with child protection and psychosocial programmes despite the restrictive COVID-19 reality.