UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl completed the third and final day of his mission to Syria today, 14 April 2015, in coordination with the Office of the UN Secretary-General. The visit was prompted by profound 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 completed a second successful mission to Yalda today, an area adjacent to Yarmouk hosting displaced civilians.
UNRWA continued to expand its humanitarian response to the Yarmouk crisis today, with a second distribution mission to Yalda providing humanitarian assistance to 1,000 families affected by the crisis. This total represents an increase in output of over 100% from the previous day. UNRWA medical personnel established a mobile health point, treating 138 patients over the course of the day. The UNRWA distribution team will return to Yalda tomorrow.
Those receiving assistance were comprised of Palestinian and Syrian families affected by the recent eruption of violence in Yarmouk, including members of 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 met again with local religious, political, community leaders and the Local Relief Committee in Yalda who, in addition to the Syrian authorities, played a critical and welcome role in facilitating this expanded distribution.
This second day of distribution in Yalda represents a sustained demonstration of UNRWA’s commitment to providing essential assistance to all civilians affected by the intensive armed clashes that have recently affected in Yarmouk. UNRWA’s priority remains the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians 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 is also providing daily hot lunches for all civilians, complemented by regular distribution of canned food. UNRWA commenced the distribution of solar lanterns to families in Tadamoun today.
The vulnerability of civilians in Yarmouk remains of the highest severity. 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.