Yarmouk updates

Posted: April 12, 2015 by Rex Brynen in Syria, UNRWA
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UNRWA issued its latest situation report on Yarmouk, Syria yesterday:

UNRWA Situation Report Yarmouk

11 April 2015

UNRWA is deeply concerned that lack of humanitarian access to the civilians inside Yarmouk, and those displaced to the south east of Yarmouk, is putting 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian men, women and children at grave risks. Civilians from Yarmouk remain unable to meet their most basic needs of food, water and healthcare, and continue to be exposed to unacceptable levels of violence.

Situation report 11 April 2015

  • The intensity of violence has decreased over the past two days in Yarmouk. Up to 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian civilians, including 3,500 children, inside and outside of Yarmouk continue to be affected by unimaginable levels of violence and deprivation.
  • UNRWA and its partners stand ready to resume humanitarian assistance to civilians inside Yarmouk and to those displaced from Yarmouk as a result of the ongoing armed violence.
  • UNRWA has provided immediate and life-saving humanitarian assistance to up to 100 civilians from Yarmouk who remain displaced in Tadamon. In addition to the food, mattresses and blankets distributed on April 4th, the Agency distributed hygiene kits and baby kits to support displaced families.
  • An UNRWA health team visited the civilians on April 8th and provided direct assistance to 31 people, mostly suffering from chronic diseases.
  • UNRWA is working quickly with all partners to assess the situation of the displaced civilians to the south east of Yarmouk, in Yalda, Babela and Beit Sahm and respond to their most pressing needs.
  • UNRWA demands all parties to respect, and comply with, their obligations to protect civilians. UNRWA further demands the establishment of secure conditions under which the Agency can deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance.

UNRWA preparedness

  • UNRWA mobilized its emergency response team on April 1st to develop a range of response scenarios, including large displacements to areas where UNRWA does not currently have access.
  • UNRWA works closely with partners and UN Agencies to mobilize resources for a large-scale humanitarian response to support the civilians of Yarmouk.
  • UNRWA has prepositioned stocks of food, mattresses, blankets, and hygiene kits to respond to the most urgent needs as soon as access is granted.

Call for support

  • As violence continues to affect the lives and safety of Palestine refugees throughout Syria, UNRWA appeals for donors to increase their support to the Agency’s Emergency Appeal.
  • The capacity of the Agency to sustain life-saving emergency interventions, whilst responding immediately to urgent developments such as the one impacting Yarmouk since April 1st, is gravely undermined by chronic underfunding for humanitarian interventions inside Syria.
  • More than 95% of Palestine refugees now rely on UNRWA to meet their daily needs of food, water and healthcare.
  • Priorities interventions include cash assistance which enables UNRWA to access up to 470,000 Palestine refugees in need, including up to 39,500 of them currently living in hard to reach areas. This intervention will run out of funding after the distribution of second round of cash assistance in June.
  • Additional funding is also required for critical non-food items including blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits for all displaced Palestine refugee families throughout Syria.

At the same time, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl undertook an urgent mission to Syria:

The visit is prompted by UNRWA’s deepening concerns for the safety and protection of some 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian civilians, including 3,500 children, as Yarmouk remains under the control of armed groups, and as civilian lives continue to be threatened by the effects of the armed conflict in the area.

The objectives of the Commissioner-General’s visit are:

  • a. to obtain a closer view of the evolving situation in Yarmouk and to learn from the experiences of individuals affected by the crisis;
  • b. to consult with the Government of Syria on its perspectives, and to exchange views on  peaceful approaches to addressing the humanitarian consequences of the situation in Yarmouk;
  • c. to consult with the Deputy UN Special Envoy  on approaches to non-state actors in order to secure humanitarian access to civilians.
  • d. to consult with the Deputy Special Envoy and other UN colleagues on the UN’s role with particular reference to feasible humanitarian action to support civilians in Yarmouk under all circumstances
  • e. to recognize and give encouragement to UNRWA staff and colleagues from other UN Agencies in Syria.

To achieve these objectives, the Commissioner-General will meet with relevant senior Syrian officials, UN colleagues and UNRWA staff. He will also visit the displaced people presently accommodated in a government school building in Tadamoun.

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