UN appeals for US$84 million to support Syrian refugees

Briefing Notes, 23 March 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 23 March 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners are today issuing an appeal for US$84 million to help Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. The Syria Regional Response Plan outlines the response needs for Syrian refugees who have fled the country since March 2011, as well as anticipating the needs of future arrivals.

The plan is an inter-agency framework led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the result of a coordinated effort between seven UN agencies, 27 national and international NGOs and partners, and host governments. The plan is based on an estimate that in the next six months assistance will be needed to support some 100,000 people. This will mainly comprise Syrian refugees, as well as some third-country nationals. The plan does not cover humanitarian needs inside Syria. For that, a separate appeal, led by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is expected in the near future.

The plan is based on three objectives. The first is to ensure that Syrians and other refugees have access to neighbouring countries and international protection. The second is to provide for the basic needs of the refugees, with special attention to the most vulnerable. The third is to ensure that contingency measures are undertaken in the event of a larger-scale outflow.

The plan outlines how agencies (including IOM, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO and WFP), host governments and local and international NGOs are uniting to provide a coordinated response to the needs of refugees and third country nationals.

In Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, a year after unrest began in Syria, refugee numbers have been increasing and signs of strain are showing among the communities that are hosting them. There is a clear need for international support to be stepped up.

In Jordan, over 6,000 Syrians have registered with UNHCR since March of last year, with a further 2,500 awaiting registration. This figure is expected to increase significantly as UNHCR and partners expand their outreach efforts and level of assistance to Syrians. Many refugees have arrived with limited means to cover basic needs, and those who could at first rely on savings or support from host families are now increasingly in need of assistance. Quick impact projects for the local communities and distribution of aid items are underway, while plans are being made for a cash assistance programme.

In Lebanon, joint registration of refugees with the government is ongoing. As with Jordan, many of the refugees are in a precarious situation, with little or no financial resources to rely on. UNHCR and partners are working with the Lebanese Government and local authorities to ensure that the needs of refugees and the affected communities are addressed. Over 16,000 refugees, including some 8,000 registered in the North, are currently receiving assistance.

In Turkey, 17,000 Syrians are currently registered with the Government, which has now set up 9 locations including 8 tented camps and a 'container city' in Kilis to deal with the influx. The plan identifies a need to increase support for the Turkish Government when requested, as the Government has assumed responsibility for assisting, sheltering and protecting the refugees in camps. In addition, for refugees who were previously hosted in Syria, such as Iraqi refugees who are now living in urban environments, the plan outlines a strategy to register and assist them.

Iraq has recently seen a growing number of Syrians arriving. Exact numbers are still being assessed. UNHCR and partners have started assisting refugees, in close cooperation with the authorities. Meanwhile in Syria UNHCR and partners continue to assist some 110,000 registered refugees in different parts of the country.

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2008 Nansen Refugee Award

The UN refugee agency has named the British coordinator of a UN-run mine clearance programme in southern Lebanon and his civilian staff, including almost 1,000 Lebanese mine clearers, as the winners of the 2008 Nansen Refugee Award.

Christopher Clark, a former officer with the British armed forces, became manager of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre-South Lebanon (UNMACC-SL) n 2003. His teams have detected and destroyed tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and tens of thousands of mines. This includes almost 145,000 submunitions (bomblets from cluster-bombs) found in southern Lebanon since the five-week war of mid-2006.

Their work helped enable the return home of almost 1 million Lebanese uprooted by the conflict. But there has been a cost – 13 mine clearers have been killed, while a further 38 have suffered cluster-bomb injuries since 2006. Southern Lebanon is once more thriving with life and industry, while the process of reconstruction continues apace thanks, in large part, to the work of the 2008 Nansen Award winners.

2008 Nansen Refugee Award

Muazzez Ersoy

Muazzez Ersoy

Crisis in Iraq: Displacement

UNHCR and its partners estimate that out of a total population of 26 million, some 1.9 million Iraqis are currently displaced internally and more than 2 million others have fled to nearby countries. While many people were displaced before 2003, increasing numbers of Iraqis are now fleeing escalating sectarian, ethnic and general violence. Since January 2006, UNHCR estimates that more than 800,000 Iraqis have been uprooted and that 40,000 to 50,000 continue to flee their homes every month. UNHCR anticipates there will be approximately 2.3 million internally displaced people within Iraq by the end of 2007. The refugee agency and its partners have provided emergency assistance, shelter and legal aid to displaced Iraqis where security has allowed.

In January 2007, UNHCR launched an initial appeal for US$60 million to fund its Iraq programme. Despite security issues for humanitarian workers inside the country, UNHCR and partners hope to continue helping up to 250,000 of the most vulnerable internally displaced Iraqis and their host communities

Posted on 12 June 2007

Crisis in Iraq: Displacement

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