UNICEF Syria Crisis Situation Report - July 2016

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 31 Jul 2016

Highlights

  • Around 21 million children U5 were vaccinated against polio, 724,361 children were enrolled in formal education, 283,815 in non-formal/informal education across the Syria Crisis countries in 2016 through support of UNICEF and partners.

  • Since the beginning of the year, over one million estimated people living in besieged and hard to reach areas inside Syria were served with essential supplies including health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, child protection and non-food items.

  • UNICEF funding gap (3RP and HRP) stands at 27 per cent with shortages in key areas including health and nutrition (38 percent), basic needs (37 per cent) and education (31 per cent). Donor funding is urgently needed to meet increasing humanitarian needs of Syrian displaced and refugee children in the region and to strengthen the resilience of host communities.

Aleppo Crisis (covering until 20 August)

  • The recent escalation of armed confrontations in Aleppo gravely jeopardizes the safety and wellbeing of thousands of families and children who are caught up in the fighting. The damages inflicted upon civilian infrastructure including schools, medical and health facilities due to the conflict is adding pressure to already strained resources and services, particularly in terms of water supply, fuel, healthcare and food.

  • An estimated 300,000 people, including 100,000 internally displaced people and around 120,000 children who have been trapped in eastern Aleppo since the besiegement of the city in July, are in dire humanitarian need due to limited access to humanitarian assistance.

  • Heavy fighting in al-Riyadah and 1070 Project in west Aleppo led to a second displacement of around 25,000 people as of end of July.

  • In west Aleppo, UNICEF has scaled up its emergency water trucking in the last days of July, reaching 300,000 vulnerable people, including internally displaced people. In eastern Aleppo, people have been relying on potentially contaminated well water and therefore are exposed to disease. Rehabilitation of water and electricity networks is urgently needed to restore vital services in Aleppo.

  • UNICEF pre-positioned in June/July basic health supplies in health centers in western and eastern Aleppo to cover the needs of up to 600,000 people till December 2016 (500,000 in the west and 100,000 in the east).

  • UNICEF and partners are prioritizing preparation for delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to Aleppo as soon as the security situation permits in the affected areas.

Humanitarian Overview

The month of July witnessed a dramatic worsening of the security and humanitarian situation in key areas in Syria. The continued fighting in densely populated areas in Aleppo, Rural Damascus, Idleb, and Qamishli and attacks on civilian infrastructure is putting hundreds of thousands of children at grave risk of injury and death. Since the change in control of the Castello Road in July, the only supply route into eastern Aleppo, the delivery of humanitarian aid including food, medical items and other key supply to about 300,000 of the affected population has been extremely challenging and children are paying a heavy price.

Military operations in Rural Damascus, in particular East Ghouta, Daraya and al Zabadani and other constraints have delayed the flow of humanitarian assistance through inter-agency convoys. In Idleb, fighting continues to disrupt humanitarian assistance and large scale displacement has been reported from Idleb city toward Harim district as well as towards the internally displaced people camps at the Turkish border. Moreover, as some schools were hit by the attacks in Idleb city, the end-of-year exams for 17,482 students were temporarily suspended.

Since 10 June, no humanitarian or commercial goods have reached Membij due to its encirclement by armed forces and groups. It is estimated that around 100,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of the fighting on 31 May. Reports indicate that, as of 10 August, 40 per cent of the houses have been destroyed and that there is no access to water due to damages caused to water pipes. The city is also contaminated by landmines further exposing children to risk.

UNICEF is closely following the humanitarian situation and advocating for access to the besieged town of Madaya, in Rural Damascus. Reports indicate that – by end July - food supplies, including therapeutic food for the treatment of malnutrition had been depleted, raising serious concerns of malnutrition. The UN has been unable to access the town since 30 April 2016.

UNICEF is also concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in besieged Daraya, in Rural Damascus, where damage to agricultural lands as a result of active conflict threatens food security unless sustained humanitarian access is granted.

On 28 July the Jordanian Government officially allowed the resumption of cross-border operations between Jordan and Syria after it ordered all northern borders with Syria closed on 21 June as a result of the attack in Rukban in north-eastern Jordan.

The earlier suspension of cross-border operations from the Security Council approved Ramtha Border crossing has resulted in over a month delay for the UN and humanitarian partners in delivering essential services and supplies to 70,000 people in southern Syria.

Since the first quarter of 2016 in Iraq, there has been an increase in new displacements of Iraqi populations due to intensified military operations including in governorates adjoining the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). As more displacement is anticipated in the coming months the security situation for the Syrian refugee population in the KRI may be impacted due to increased focus on immediate ‘first-line’ response for the internally displaced people.

In July, there were around one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon including over 500,000 children. The population continues to face considerable challenges due to high living costs, rising unemployment rates and declining income. The impact is compounded by an increasing number of Syrian refugees living in the most vulnerable and deprived parts of the country where public institutions and infrastructure are exceptionally overstressed, severely impacting access to and quality of basic services.

Turkey now hosts more than two million Syrian refugees, out of which more than half are children. Continued access to child protection services for unaccompanied and other children-at-risk, including child survivors of violence and abuse, is critical.

Moreover, with a continuously growing refugee population, government services have become overwhelmed and resources are stretched. Increased destitution among refugees living in communities is resulting in the engagement in negative coping mechanisms, such as child labour and child marriages, while aggravating tensions with impacted host communities.

While Egypt is hosting smaller numbers of Syrian refugees in comparison to other countries in the region, there are currently over 117,000 registered Syrian refugees including around 50,000 children. Syrian refugees continue to face a number of challenges including lengthy residency procedures, visa limitations, inflation, an increasing cost of living, limited livelihood opportunities, and potential for workplace exploitation. Cost barriers impede access to healthcare and secondary and tertiary education. Physical safety is also a concern, particularly for women, girls and persons living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.