In the eighth year of the crisis in Syria, thus far three major emergency situations occurred in Eastern Ghouta, Afrin and South West / Dar’a leading to continued internal displacement and loss of lives.
1,094,873 displacements from affected areas in northern and southern Syria were recorded by the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster in the last 12 months.
In 2018, UNHCR continues to provide humanitarian assistance and protection services to the most vulnerable IDPs, host communities, returnees and other crisis- affected populations in all areas where humanitarian access existed and/or emerged throughout Syria.
UNHCR Syria strategic directions for 2018
Humanitarian needs in Syria remain staggering in terms of scale, severity and complexity, with significant protection risks persisting in a number of areas. A total of 12.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 6.2 million people that are internally displaced. Some 5.2 million people are in acute need due to a convergence of vulnerabilities resulting from displacement, exposure to hostilities and limited access to basic goods and services. The UN estimates there are an estimated 1.16 million people in need living in hard-toreach locations. In the first six months of 2018, 1.3 million population movements were recorded at an average of more than 6,129 people per day. UNHCR’s action in 2018 continued to contribute to the strategic objectives of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) to provide life-saving assistance, mitigate protection risks and respond to protection needs, improve self-reliance, livelihoods and access to basic services, and prepare for the shift towards returns. UNHCR continues to deliver on these objectives through five key components as are described below;
1) Provision of emergency life-saving assistance to IDPs (emergency response to new displacements such as eastern Ghouta, Daraa, Idlib, Raqqa);
2) IDP protection and assistance to support over 6 million IDPs and equally vulnerable host communities;
3) Refugee protection and assistance to some 46,000 refugees and asylum seekers who are need continued support;
4) Winterization support, a seasonal programme, the need of which is expanding as new areas are accessible;
5) Preparing for returns and providing community based protection services and assistance support to returnees, mostly IDPs but also spontaneous refugee returnees, through community-based assistance.
I. Emergency Response
UNHCR’s response to the Eastern Ghouta emergency
In March 2018, over 92,000 civilians left or were evacuated from Eastern Ghouta, including some 77,000 that were accommodated in overcrowded conditions in eight collective shelters in Rural Damascus. UNHCR’s response to the needs of these displaced persons included, among others, legal counselling to nearly 32,802 individuals; 7,581 legal administrative interventions, 4,632 individuals attended 88 awareness- raising sessions; distribution of more than 411,130 core relief items, in addition, UNHCR provided shelter support that included the installation of three rub halls and 50 familysize tents in two IDP sites, in addition to the provision of 2,203 shelter kits, of which some 2,128 were installed in the various IDP sites. The rehabilitation of three schools (180 rooms) in one IDP site was completed, in addition to the installation of four sheds (big size tents) in another site. Nearly 15,375 people have benefited from UNHCR’s shelter response to Eastern Ghouta emergency.
UNHCR’s response to the Afrin emergency
An estimated 151,0003 people were uprooted from their homes in Afrin region by fighting since the start of the Turkish “Olive Branch” military operation in January 2018. The majority were displaced to Tal Refaat, Nubul, Zahra and Fafin areas of Aleppo governorate.
UNHCR’s response to the needs of the displaced persons included, among others, the distribution of more than 1,100,276 core relief items as of end of November 2018, including high thermal blankets, warm clothes, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, mattresses, solar lamps, sleeping bags, hygiene kits, jerry cans, seasonal supplementary items such as fans, and mosquito nets for 237,795 individuals consisting of 47,559 families in Nubul, Zahraa, Tal Refaat, Fafin areas including the four camps and the scattered farms and Aleppo city. The response also included support to selected persons from the host community identified in need of assistance after house to house assessment by UNHCR’s partners. UNHCR’s partner Syrian Arab Red Cresent (SARC) completed the installation of 1,058 shelter kits for 12,413 IDPs from Afrin who are currently sheltered in empty houses in different villages. As of end November 2018, more than 83,730 IDPs from Afrin have benefitted from protection services provided through five partner organizations namely Syria Society of Social Development (SSSD), Al Ihsan, Namma, SARC Human Support Project (HSP), and Syria Trust. The locations covered include Ibin, Kashtaat, Tal Refaat, Dayr Jamal, Al Aser camp and hangars of Nubol and Zahraa villages as well as the new locations of Maarata, Moslemya, Tal Souseen, Hassin, Al Harra, Ahras, Tal Kraa, Tal Shaer, Halissa in September 2018. A secondary displacement movement trend has been detected from Nubul and Ziyara to Fafin camps and when possible to Aleppo city especially Shiekh Maqsoud.