UNRWA Syria crisis situation update Issue 39, 23 March 2013
Armed conflict in Syria continues to result in a rapidly rising death toll, displacement and compounded humanitarian needs. Armed clashes continue throughout Syria, particularly in Rif Damascus Governorate, Aleppo, Dera’a and Homs. As the armed conflict has progressively escalated since the launch of UNRWA’s Syria Crisis Response 2013, the number of Palestine refugees in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance has risen to over 400,000 individuals. The number of Palestine refugees from Syria who have fled to Jordan has reached 4,794 individuals and approximately 33,000 refugees are in Lebanon.
Amongst the 65 reported deaths of Palestine refugees this week, UNRWA has learned of the violent deaths of five Palestine refugee children, one in Dera'a on 15 March and four others in the Damascus area on 19 March. Four of the children reportedly died as a result of the use of heavy weapons. (link to the press release)
An UNRWA driver is missing and was last seen transporting food parcels from Homs to Hama;
An UNRWA vehicle was stolen from a staff member's residence in Khan Eshieh. There is a total of 19 UNRWA vehicles that have been stolen since the start of the conflict;
Hostilities in southern Rif Damascus Governorate hit a high level of intensity at the beginning of the week with clashes and shelling affecting almost all camps in the area, including Yarmouk, Sbeineh, Seyeda Zaynab, Husseiniyah and Khan Dannoun;
Intensive hostilities around eastern Damascus / Rif Damascus Governorate continued unabated including in the area of Ramadan camp resulting in 75 per cent of camp residents fleeing to adjacent locations;
Armed conflict continues in various parts of Aleppo and around Neirab camp and the adjacent airport;
Hostilities also continue in and around Dera’a, and for the first time in Jillien village resulting in severe restriction on operations throughout the southern area.
Despite high risk of exposure to violence in conflict-affected areas, since the start of the conflict in March 2011, UNRWA’s network of some 3,600 staff have delivered food parcels to 28,652 families as well as 36,843 blankets, 2,829 hygiene kits, and 14,502 mattresses. UNRWA has provided cash assistance to 73,076 families since the start of the conflict.
Currently, there are some 11,500 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA-managed facilities in Syria, of which nearly 8,000 are in UNRWA buildings (e.g. schools and training centres) that are being used as make-shift emergency shelters. The IDPs are dependent on humanitarian assistance for their basic food, NFI and health needs.