• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Humanitarian agencies appeal for US$1 billion as Syrian refugee exodus grows

Press Releases, 19 December 2012

Geneva, 19 December 2012

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and its partners today appealed to international donors for US$1 billion to support refugees fleeing Syria to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.

The new Regional Response Plan for Syrian Refugees sets out the funding needs of 55 humanitarian organizations in providing vital protection and assistance for civilians fleeing Syria during the first six months of 2013.

"This massive humanitarian crisis requires urgent support from governments, businesses and private individuals, said Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR's Regional Coordinator for Syrian Refugees. "Unless these funds come quickly we will not be able to fully respond to the lifesaving needs of civilians who flee Syria every hour of the day many in a truly desperate condition."

The new US$1 billion appeal is based on planning estimates that up to 1 million Syrian refugees will need help during the first half of 2013.

Currently in the countries immediately surrounding Syria 525,000 Syrians have either registered as refugees or are being assisted. This is a seven-fold increase since May when just 70,000 Syrians had registered for help. Many more Syrians are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, but have not yet registered.

"We are constantly shocked by the horrific stories refugees tell us," said Mr. Moumtzis. "Their lives are in turmoil. They have lost their homes and family members. By the time they reach the borders, they are exhausted, traumatised and with little or no resources to rely on."

The 2013 plan aims at redoubling efforts to protect vulnerable refugees, with a big emphasis on community outreach to refugees living in urban environments. Much of this work is conducted by the 43 national and international NGOs included in the appeal.

Specific activities focusing on children, women, the elderly and survivors of sexual and gender based violence are planned for.

"Children make up roughly half of the refugees crowded into camps and host communities across five countries, and their numbers rise inexorably," said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. "The evolving situation on the ground has outpaced our efforts to raise the necessary funds. Today, a further response to the desperate plight of Syrian children is once more urgently required."

Since July Syrian refugees have fled the conflict for neighbouring countries at a rate of 2-3,000 a day. The 2013 plan prioritizes support for new arrivals, assistance to hosting communities and plans for construction of new camps.

As the crisis continues to deteriorate inside Syria, there is significant attention given to emergency preparedness in the plan, with regional warehouses being restocked with tents, blankets and basic household items.

This plan includes Egypt for the first time. To date 10,474 Syrians are registered by UNHCR. According to government figures tens of thousands more are in the country. Another new development in the plan is support for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) activities for Palestinians who have fled Syria for Lebanon.

This appeal is the fourth update of the Syria Regional Response Plan, first launched in March 2012. The 2012 Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees received 70% of the US$487 million appealed for.

Statistics:

LEBANON (17 December)

Number of Syrians registered and pending registration with UNHCR: 159,277

JORDAN (17 December)

Number of Syrians registered and pending registration with UNHCR: 148,592

TURKEY (Government of Turkey figures dated 16 December)

Number of Syrians registered in camps: 141,240

IRAQ (16 December)

Number of Syrians registered with UNHCR: 66,048

EGYPT (16 December)

Number of Syrians registered with UNHCR: 10,474

Total number of Syrians registered and pending registration: 525,631

For further information:

  • Sybella Wilkes, wilkes@unhcr.org Tel: +41 22 739 7968
  • Patrick McCormick, pmccormick@unicef.org Tel: +41 22 909 5713

Links

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

Iraq Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Make a gift now to help protect and assist those fleeing violence in Iraq.

Donate to this crisis

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

Serbia: Overstretched BordersPlay video

Serbia: Overstretched Borders

As Hungary builds a fence on its border with Serbia, the situation at the border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece is increasingly precarious. Refugees in Serbia on their way to Hungry fear the tighter measures and say they wouldn't have fled home had they not been forced to do it by the war.
 Jordan: Alaa's DAFI ScholarshipPlay video

Jordan: Alaa's DAFI Scholarship

Alaa is a young Syrian refugee who is attending a Jordanian university close to Zaatari refugee camp thanks to a scholarship from UNHCR's DAFI program. With demand outstripping the available scholarships through DAFI, more funding is needed to ensure bright young Syrians don't miss out on a university education.

Saving Diana: A Syrian Refugee With Special NeedsPlay video

Saving Diana: A Syrian Refugee With Special Needs

Ten year old Diana was born in Syria with a severe form of Cerebral Palsy. For nearly a month, she traveled with her mother and brother across deserts and sea in search of safety in Europe.