About 20,000 to 50,000 people in Syria’s Raqqa city continue to live under dire humanitarian conditions and fear for their lives and protection as military operations intensify. Water and electricity has been reportedly cut-off for more than a month. People are forced to collect unsafe water, exposing them to the risk of waterborne diseases. Unexploded ordnances and landmines continues to be a serious safety concern.
In Syria in July, 481,400 people in 189 hard-to-reach areas and about 23,350 others in nine besieged areas received critical UNICEF assistance. However, delays in approvals for cross-line convoys, shifting conflict lines and restrictions or removals of health supplies continue to hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Approximately 50,000 Syrians at Jordan’s northeastern border remain highly vulnerable.
According to a rapid assessment completed by UNICEF in July, 80 per cent reported that at least one of their children suffered from diarrhoea in the previous two weeks and 84 per cent reported behavioral change in their children due to stress, mainly driven by lack of food (77 per cent), exposure to bomb attacks (77 per cent), and lack of water (75 per cent).
In Iraq, 1,424 Syrians were re-admitted to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in July after they were previously allowed to return to Syria by the authorities. An increasing number of out-of-camp Syrian refugees are expressing interest to relocate to camps to benefit from humanitarian services. However, refugee camp capacities are limited, leading to waiting lists.
In Lebanon, following an offensive against armed groups in border areas with Syria, over 400 civilians sought refuge in Aarsal town. UNICEF, through partners, continues to monitor the situation of children and provide WASH and child protection support.
In July, over 72,000 refugee children in Turkey received a conditional cash transfer for education payment for attending school regularly in preceding months, a nearly 29 per cent increase in beneficiaries over the previous payment in May 2017. The payment also included, for the first time, children attending Temporary Education Centers.
As of 10 August, UNICEF’s appeals for Syria and Iraq response to Syrian refugees are 63 per cent and 68 per cent underfunded respectively, including carry-forward. Donor funding is urgently needed to ensure the continuation and sustainability of this critical humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, particularly children.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs: The provision of humanitarian assistance to besieged and hard-to-reach (HTR) areas during the first seven months of 2017 has been more limited compared to the same period in 2016, mainly due to delays in getting government approvals for cross-line convoys and shifting conflict lines. In July, six UN/International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)/Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) Inter-agency (IA) convoys reached HTR areas in Rural Damascus1 , Rural Homs and Hama2 , in addition to the Nashabiyeh besieged area in East Ghouta. Furthermore, an unaccompanied IA/SARC/ICRC mission delivered health and nutrition supplies in the besieged area of Douma in East Ghouta. UNICEF participated in all six accompanied missions, delivering supplies for an estimated total of 96,920 people 3 , and carrying-out rapid multi-sectoral needs assessments. However, restrictions or removals of health supplies by authorities continue to be reported. The humanitarian situation inside Raqqa city4 continues to be of deep concern, as children and their families are under constant attack and bombardment, basic services are either partially or completely unavailable, the main public hospital is not functional, while the remaining few private hospitals are only working partially. The population has reportedly been cut-off from water and electricity for more than a month, forcing people to collect unsafe water from the Euphrates River, exposing them to the risk of waterborne diseases and to the constant threat of crossfire and attacks. The risk of unexploded ordnances and landmines continues to put the lives of children and their families in danger. On 12 July, UNICEF participated in an IA mission in Tabqa city, within Raqqa Governorate, aimed at conducting a rapid needs assessment of the population in the city and the Governorate. This enabled the start of UNICEF’s emergency response, with an immediate delivery of four metric tons of sodium hypochlorite from the Department of Water Resources (DOWR) Hasakeh stock to Tabqa DOWR to ensure the continuation of safe water delivery to the resident and displaced population. An escalation in fighting resulted in a temporary closure of the primary border crossing between Turkey and Syria, Bab Al-Hawa, from July 19 until July 26. In-fighting between armed opposition groups, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and Ahrar Al-Sham, across Idleb Governorate, led to large territorial gains for HTS, including key locations on trade routes. The border closure created a backlog of supplies destined for Syria, which led to an increase in wheat prices and suspension of work in some bakeries.