GENEVA (June 28, 2012) — UN humanitarian agencies and partner organizations appealed on Thursday for urgent new funds to help meet the needs of growing numbers of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. The agencies originally appealed in March for $84.1 million, but said increasing numbers of refugees meant $193 million would now be needed.
“The governments and host communities of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have shown tremendous generosity and hospitality to Syrian refugees,” said Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR’s Regional Coordinator for Syrian Refugees. “It is essential that the international community steps up its support for relief operations for refugees.”
In the last three months humanitarian agencies have been registering an average of over 500 Syrian refugees a day. Currently, more than 96,000 Syrians are either registered or being assisted in neighboring countries, more than double the number in March. The operational planning figure anticipates that by the end of 2012, this number could double again to 185,000 refugees, due to new arrivals and existing refugees in neighboring countries requesting assistance or protection.
"Around 75% of Syrian refugees are women and children. Most are entirely dependent on lifesaving humanitarian assistance," said Moumtzis, noting that to date the appeal is only 26% funded.
In Jordan and Lebanon most refugees live among host communities, with a small number in Jordan living in transit facilities close to the border. In Turkey, Syrian refugees are hosted in camps provided by the government. In Iraq the majority are living in the Kurdistan Region, with increasing numbers moving to Domiz camp in the northern province of Dohuk.
The original appeal anticipated that only 1,500 Syrians would flee to Iraq. However, by mid-June, over 6000 Syrian refugees have been registered in northern Iraq. In addition, increasing numbers are reported to have arrived in central and southern Iraq. In the past month the Kurdistan Regional Government made the decision that all Syrian refugees should be hosted in camps. Two-thirds are awaiting relocation at Domiz camp in Dohuk province. The appeal outlines shelter, registration, protection, food, water, sanitation, health and education support for refugees in camps, as well as assistance for those remaining in urban areas.
In Jordan, over 27,000 Syrian refugees have registered with UNHCR. Local charities estimate that around 50,000 Syrian refugees are currently receiving assistance. Registered Syrians are granted free access to health services and their children are welcomed in local schools. The appeal identifies the main needs of refugees in Jordan as being rental payments, basic household items, access to health care, water and sanitation, food and education. Support to host communities is also planned.
In Lebanon over 29,000 Syrian refugees are being assisted. The vast majority are women and children. Many live with host families who themselves struggle to make ends meet. Among the most pressing needs are permission to move freely, food and basic household items, shelter, medical care, education and psychosocial support.
In Turkey 33,000 Syrian refugees are hosted in camps in the four border provinces of Hatay, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep and Kilis. New arrivals are rapidly settled in the camps prepared by the Turkish authorities and set up by the Turkish Red Crescent. Assistance to Syrian refugees in camps and technical advice to the Government of Turkey is envisaged within the appeal. In addition, support for the increasing number of Iraqi and Somali refugees who have fled Syria for towns and cities in Turkey is planned.
The plan is a result of the coordinated efforts of 44 international and national agencies involved in responding to the needs of Syrian refugees in four countries, as well as support to host communities. This includes UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Program (WFP), as well as host governments and local and international NGOs. UNHCR and partners continue to assist some 90,000 refugees (majority Iraqi) in different parts of Syria.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.