UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl completed the second day of his mission to Syria today, 13 April 2015, in coordination with the Office of the UN Secretary-General. The visit is prompted by UNRWA’s deepening concerns for the safety and protection of some 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian civilians, including 3,500 children, as Yarmouk remains under the control of armed groups, and as civilian lives continue to be threatened by the effects of the armed conflict in the area. UNRWA also completed a successful mission to Yalda today, an area adjacent to Yarmouk hosting displaced civilians.
- UNRWA broadened its humanitarian response to the Yarmouk crisis today, with a distribution mission providing humanitarian assistance to 500 civilians in the adjacent area of Yalda. The mission also conducted a rapid assessment of the humanitarian conditions in the area, laying the ground for sustained operations over the coming days and weeks.
- Those receiving assistance were comprised of Palestinian and Syrian families fleeing the recent eruption of violence in Yarmouk, in addition to the host community of Yalda. The UNRWA mission delivered a broad range of critical humanitarian materials to each of these families, including food, medical supplies, water purification treatments, mattresses, blankets, family kitchen sets and hygiene kits.
- The UNRWA mission also met with local religious, political and community leaders in Yalda, providing assurances that humanitarian assistance would continue to delivered to Palestine refugees and Syrians, including the host community, within the area, in close cooperation with local humanitarian actors.
- The distribution in Yalda represents an important demonstration of UNRWA’s commitment to providing essential assistance to all civilians affected by the intensive armed clashes continuing in Yarmouk. UNRWA’s priority remains the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped within Yarmouk itself and reiterates its strong demand for all parties to respect, and comply with, their obligations to protect civilians and to establish of secure conditions under which the Agency can deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance.
- UNRWA continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilians from Yarmouk who remain displaced in Tadamoun, an area on the north-eastern periphery. The Agency has commenced provision of daily hot lunches for all civilians, complemented by regular distribution of canned food.
- The intensity of armed conflict in and to the south of Yarmouk remains high. UNRWA is deeply concerned that without access, the most basic humanitarian needs of up to 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian civilians, including 3,500 children, continue to be left unmet.
- UNRWA mobilized its emergency response team on April 1st to develop a range of response scenarios, including large displacements to areas where UNRWA does not currently have access.
- UNRWA works closely with partners and UN Agencies to mobilize resources for a large-scale humanitarian response to support the civilians of Yarmouk.
- UNRWA has prepositioned stocks of food, mattresses, blankets, and hygiene kits to respond to the most urgent needs as soon as access is granted.
- UNRWA is working rapidly with all partners to assess the situation of the displaced civilians to the south east of Yarmouk, in Yalda, Babela and Beit Sahm and respond to their most pressing needs.
CALL FOR SUPPORT
- As violence continues to profoundly threaten the lives and safety of Palestine refugees throughout Syria, UNRWA appeals for donors to increase their support to the Agency’s Emergency Appeal.
- The capacity of the Agency to sustain life-saving emergency interventions, whilst responding immediately to urgent developments such as the one impacting Yarmouk since April 1st, is gravely undermined by chronic underfunding for humanitarian interventions inside Syria.
- More than 95% of Palestine refugees now rely on UNRWA to meet their daily needs of food, water and healthcare.
- Priority interventions include cash assistance which enables UNRWA to access up to 470,000 Palestine refugees in need, including up to 39,500 currently living in hard to reach areas. This intervention will run out of funding after the distribution of second round of cash assistance in June.
- Additional funding is also required for critical non-food items including blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits for displaced Palestine refugee families throughout Syria.