In Syria, 1.33 million people in 432 hard-to-reach areas and nearly 93,000 others in eight besieged areas received critical UNICEF assistance since January 2017. However, humanitarian access remains extremely challenging in most areas of the country, particularly where conflict is active.
Turkey hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees in the MENA region with more than 3 million people registered, almost half are children. In 2017, UNICEF established 260 pre-primary classrooms and 76 temporary education centres, benefiting 9,308 Syrian children, and significantly expanded the social protection programme through the extension of the national Conditional Cash Transfer for Education, reaching 230,000 vulnerable refugee children by end of 2017.
Syrian refugees living in informal settlements in Lebanon faced increased evictions this year, with almost 12,000 people aimed to be reached in the Bekaa valley and the North. UNICEF continues support to relocated families through trucking of clean water and desludging, and advocating on key humanitarian and protection concerns.
Cholera resurged in Iraq with six cases confirmed to date in central and southern governorates (Baghdad, Najaf, and Wassit). UNICEF and partners are working to provide supply of safe water, through water quality monitoring and purification, and the scale-up of hygiene promotion and outreach activities in affected or at risk locations.
A total of 222 UNICEF-supported Makani centres, in camps and host communities in Jordan, continue to provide a package of integrated services to vulnerable children and youth. Since this year, 60,482 children accessed learning support services and 55,362 received protection services through these centers across the country.
Egypt saw a slight increase in the number of registered refugees and asylum seekers this year, with 209,000 people recorded in May (compared to 117,591 in January 2017). Of these, almost 82 per cent are children, including about 3,000 unaccompanied and separated children. UNICEF works with partners to address protection risks for vulnerable children and advocates for the release of children in detention and to provide care during and post release.
As of 15 July 2017, UNICEF’s appeals for Syria and the Syrian refugees are 65 per cent and 47 per cent underfunded respectively, including carry-forward. In an effort to increase thematic funding (individual giving), which saw a 10 per cent decrease in May 2017 compared to the same period last year, UNICEF issued a funding pamphlet to attract flexible funds for Syria crisis countries.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs:
The delivery of humanitarian assistance and services to families and children in need remained extremely challenging in many areas of the country throughout the first six months this year, as a result of active conflict, shifting conflict lines, administrative impediments and deliberate restrictions on the movement of people and goods by parties to the conflict.
Changes in the access landscape have been shaped by the signing of local agreements between the Government of Syria and non-State armed opposition groups (AOGs), however these are agreements were reached without the United Nations involvement. While the result of these agreements often means increased freedom of movement, commercial access, and greater humanitarian access, they usually also include the relocation of those who fear reprisal or conscription, often to areas where they face serious security and protection concerns.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Turkey, 262,176 arrivals of internally displace people (IDPs) have been registered in April 2017, while as of June 913,616 displacements were recorded by the Camp Coordination and Camp Management in the last 12 months from affected areas of northern and southern Syria, meaning that IDP movement has increased by 14 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Access for the United Nations and its partners to those living in besieged and hard-to-reach locations remains a critical concern. Only 21 inter-agency convoys were able to deliver to besieged and hard-to-reach locations between January and June 2017, compared to 51 InterAgency (IA) missions undertaken in the same period of 2016. Convoys to other besieged and hard-to-reach areas, including those approved under the June-July IA convoy plan, were unable to proceed as a result of fighting and insecurity, administrative delays by the Syrian authorities and restrictions applied by AOGs. Meanwhile, restrictions continue to be also imposed by other local actors. Humanitarian organizations continue to face challenges in obtaining approvals from local authorities in Kurdish-controlled areas (KSA) in the North-East of the country, causing delays to programming and implementation of life-saving activities, including immunization, to some 1.7 million people.
In Raqqa, an estimated 100,000 civilians remained trapped in the city, while an estimated 430,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 200,000 IDPs across the governorate due to fighting. Residents in affected areas have been setting-up makeshift camps close to their villages in order to monitor their properties and belongings and to return when possible. Thousands of IDPs have taken shelter in formal camps1 set-up by KSA with UN and INGO support where security allows, or taking shelter with communities or in informal settlements2 . UNICEF is providing multi-sectoral emergency response to residents and IDPs affected by the military hostilities in Raqqa and Hasakeh governorates. At the southern border, thousands of civilians have fled to the newly established IDP camp in Bahra, South of Hasakeh city, where UNICEF is supporting IDPs with WASH and Nutrition supplies distribution.
The humanitarian operations to assist the population stranded at Jordan’s North-East border, “the Berm”, were suspended on 22 June over security concerns. UNICEF and partners continue to negotiate access to deliver life-saving assistance to the vulnerable population, with the suspension expected to be lifted in early July. In terms of the humanitarian cross-border response via Ramtha under UNSC resolution 2165/2191/2258, the movement of one UN convoy was rescheduled to cross on 22 June instead of the planned crossing on 21 June, due to the proximity of an ongoing fighting to the route used by UN convoys crossing both East and West of Dar’a.