• UNICEF reached 408,800 people in 243 hard-to-reach locations in Syria with life-saving interventions and critical WASH, education, health and nutrition and child protection services and delivered supplies for 12,200 beneficiaries in 12 besieged areas. Items from Interagency Emergency Health Kits, diarrheal disease sets, paediatric kits and midwifery kits were removed from inter-agency convoys to Yalda, Babela and Bet Sahem (Rural Damascus), and Kfar Laha (Homs), while WASH supplies (aqua tabs and sodium hypochlorite) were not approved for loading to Dar Al Kabireh (Homs).
• A recent SMART nutrition survey in besieged East Ghouta and Rural Damascus, though indicating an acceptable level of global acute malnutrition, has revealed serious prevalence of stunting among children under the age of five, up to 30 per cent, indicating chronic deprivation of quality diet and poor infant and young child feeding practices. UNICEF is participating in an interagency preparedness and response plan to help address the needs identified.
• A water treatment unit near Hadalat, at the Jordan north-eastern border with Syria, was completed and made operational, providing safe water to about 5,000 Syrians living in vulnerable conditions at the border area. This addresses previous vulnerability to service interruptions posed by reliance on water tankering from a distance of 80 kilometers from the border.
• In Lebanon, 654 refugee families (3,728 individuals) in the South and 202 families (874 individuals) in the North relocated from informal settlements over security concerns. UNICEF and implementing partners provided necessary emergency WASH response to affected populations including trucking of clean water and desludging.
• UNICEF in Syria and Iraq have a critical funding gap against their 2017 appeals for affected Syrian populations, with only 34 per cent and 19 per cent of the 2017 total appeal received (including carry-over) as of mid-May 2017 respectively. Donor funding is urgently needed to enable UNICEF to continue its response to vulnerable populations through its partners.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs: The escalation of fighting, especially against ISIL and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and the general non-compliance with the Cessation of Hostilities continues to limit access to meet humanitarian needs in hardto-reach and besieged areas. In April 2017, two schools were attacked in Idleb and Aleppo respectively shutting down the schools while three medical facilities were also attacked which resulted in the disruption to services and several casualties including the deaths of three patients and four paramedics. The implementation of inter-agency (IA) convoys in early 2017 continued at a low pace, due to lack of timely approvals and the fluctuating security situation. Humanitarian access to besieged locations in East Ghouta remains challenging due to protracted military activities in the area and as a result, hampering the implementation of IA convoys and the delivery of urgent humanitarian interventions.
Ongoing military offensives against ISIL in Ar-Raqqa and Mosul (Iraq) are causing widespread displacement. Over 150,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), about half of whom are children, have fled from Ar-Raqqa and are residing in IDP shelters in Raqqa, Aleppo and Hassakeh. UNICEF continues to respond to over 100,000 of the displaced by supporting their access to clean water, critical health items, education supplies and psycho-social support. However, spontaneous camps are being set-up by IDPs in the proximities of frontlines and therefore limiting access by the UN and partners. A recently conducted SMART nutrition survey by UNICEF cross-border partners in besieged East Ghouta, Rural Damascus, though indicating an acceptable level of global acute malnutrition, has revealed serious prevalence of stunting among children (30 per cent or 1 in 3), revealing chronic deprivation of quality diet and poor infant and young child feeding practices.