Emergency Project - Providing Protection and Assistance to Uprooted Syrians

Project location: SYRIA, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan And Egypt
Project start date: June 2013 - Project end date: June 2014
Project number: 2013-006
Beneficiary: UNHCR


With the Syrian crisis now over two years old, and the number of people forced to flee their homes at over 1.6 million, the tragedy is having terrible consequences. The United Nations estimates that 6.8 million people in Syria need urgent humanitarian assistance, 4.25 million of them are internally displaced from their homes and nearly half of them are children. Torn from home and community, UNHCR is struggling to provide for the current 1.6 million Syrians spread out across Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, and our best estimates show that we could be dealing with 2 million more by the end of this year. There are critical risks to massive population of children in the region.  More than half the refugees fleeing Syria are children. In this region hunger and malnutrition is unusual, but a recent study in Jordan found that 4% of Syrian refugee children under 5 in Jordan need treatment for moderate to acute malnutrition.  Meanwhile in Lebanon we estimate that by the end of the year 1 million children in Lebanon will be vulnerable (this includes Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian children). Of this number, 80% will be out of school. UNHCR need to assist the most vulnerable, including members of refugee hosting communities, with critical programmes, including food, shelter and cash assistance.

The table below shows that the numbers of UNHCR’s total persons of concern (registered refugees and persons awaiting registration) in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt (as of June 24th)



Syrian Registered Refugee Population

Persons awaiting registration
















Regional overview




UNHCR in Action

1 Maintaining Safe Places to run to

UNHCR is working very hard to protect the humanitarian space available to those who have to flee for their lives. As this crisis continues, access to asylum & registration and access to safety and protection in neighboring states is of life-saving importance. UNHCR is actively advocating for and ensuring the implementation of protection-sensitive national entry policies across all the borders with Syria. Recently this has become much more challenging as we are hearing from refugees that they have had problems accessing and crossing borders in Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. UNHCR is working to resolve these issues with Government officials, and providing training and awareness-raising amongst relevant staff working at borders, in the police forces and the various justice systems across the region, ensuring that they understand the legal provisions in place for allowing borders crossing and offering sanctuary. In other areas of its protection work, UNHCR is also working closely with host Governments to help Syrians access the services already in place nationally for the protection of children, the care and support of women who have been raped or victims of violence and connecting people with disabilities with the right support. Crucially, UNHCR is also identifying and providing or arranging for the specialist care and support of those children who have arrived alone; having lost their family in the chaos in their escape, or more tragically, having lost them completely as a result of the fighting. 

2 Protecting Syrian Lives: Providing Shelter, Water & Sanitation

UNHCR projected data shows that over 75 per cent of the projected refugee population will be living outside camps by the end of the year. The heightened demand for housing is provoking an increase in rent as well as a reduction in available accommodation. There are indications that an increasing number of Syrians are living in terrible, sub-standard conditions. UNHCR is rushing to provide safe and dignified emergency shelter to newly arriving families including creating transit sites, improving shelters through rehabilitation and weatherproofing, and providing cash assistance to vulnerable households in rented accommodation, who would otherwise be at risk of eviction. Significant investments are needed across the region to provide access to safe water, safe sanitation facilities and have the means to maintain hygiene conditions to minimize health risks.

3 Protecting Syrian Lives: Providing food and health

UNHCR partners are organizing and reaching Syrian women, men and children with lifesaving food and medical assistance, and UNHCR is ensuring that the most vulnerable members of the host communities in each case are also prioritized in some of this support to ensure that we reduce disparity and the risk of conflict, and share the resources fairly. UNHCR is also scaling up health services as a priority for refugees and host communities; this will be achieved through direct health services to beneficiaries in their locations sometimes delivered by mobile health units, and also by building up local public health infrastructure and strengthening capacity of host Governments to deliver essential services. UNHCR is working to support the vital availability of essential medicines and vaccines. UNHCR is also taking care to ensure that  the same assistance and rehabilitative services are extended for people living with disabilities.

4 Protecting Syrian Future: Providing Education & Livelihoods

In Lebanon - In the current academic year, only a quarter of the estimated 120.000 school-age refugee children go to state schools. It is estimated that another 10.000 receive some form of private education. Sadly this is nowhere near the ambitious goal set by the Lebanese government to have 60% of all refugee children in school. But it’s proving to be a very hard promise to deliver. UNHCR is proving support for double shifts in schools to rapidly increase the capacity to include Syrian children. UNHCR is also working to provide additional classrooms, rehabilitate substandard premises, and support teacher training as well as running costs related to extra students. UNHCR will prioritise under-served areas with high numbers of refugees. While support for tuition fees will mostly be for refugee children, a small number of the most vulnerable Lebanese children (up to 10% of beneficiaries) will also be assisted. All children in priority areas will benefit from basic educational supplies and at least 30% of vulnerable host population will benefit from after school support and Accelerated Learning Programmes (ALP). The Back-to-School programme for 2013-2014 has started in June 2013, focusing on the following:

•          Community out-reach for school enrolment

•          Back-to-school packages (stationary, bags and tuition fees)

•          Learning support (remedial for in-school children, ALP for out-of-school children)

•          Second shifts in schools

•          Psycho-social support and extra-curricular recreational activities

•          Vocational training for adolescents

•          Improvement of the physical environment for education

For young people and adults we are providing over 7.500 opportunities for access to work and vocational and livelihoods training including some for the host community.

In Iraq - UNHCR has already provided some 86 prefabricated classrooms, 24 newly constructed extra classrooms in existing schools as well as provided classroom furniture. We have paid and trained teachers, sharing the costs with the Ministry of Education.

In Egypt - UNHCR has already supported a Syrian community school where some 2.000 Syrian children are attending classes and will sit national exams with the Egyptian students. They are taught the Egyptian curriculum with some Syrian content delivered by Syrian teachers. Through a UNHCR partner, we also provide education grants to more vulnerable Syrian families to cover school fees, safe transportation, school supplies and uniforms, and where necessary the cost of remedial classes. So far, we have provided 300 grants to kindergarten children, 3.000 to primary school children and 1.000 to secondary school children. For young people and adults we are providing almost 9.000 opportunities for either training or access to work, including some for the host community.


5 Involving Host Communities

Camps and urban areas are becoming more crowded by the day, and UNHCR and its partners are doing all they can to make sure to keep people alive, protected and healthy. To date as a humanitarian community UNHCR has together fed up to 2.4 million people per month, vaccinated more than one million children against measles and polio, made drinking water safe for over 9 million people and provided approximately  1.000. 000 people with basic relief items (please, see the enclosed ppt, showing the number of NFIs – Non Food Items – dispatched since the beginning of the year). They need to continue to assist the most vulnerable, including members of refugee hosting communities, with critical programmes, including food, shelter and cash assistance.


With the support of the Nando Peretti Foundation, UNHCR has been able to provide life-saving interventions to around 148 Syrians uprooted by the crisis, either in Syria or in neighboring countries:

UNHCR will continue to support the Syrian population forced to flee their houses and country until the crisis will be over. Torn from home and community, we are struggling to provide for the current 1.6 million Syrians spread out across Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, and our best estimates show that we could be dealing with 2 million more by the end of this year.

With the support of the Nando Peretti Foundation UNHCR will be able to provide life-saving interventions to further 37 Syrians uprooted by the crisis, either in Syria or in neighboring countries.

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