Map of Syrian refugees
UNICEF photo © UNICEF Lebanon/Ramzi-Haidar,Bekaa-Al-

Syrian Refugees

and other affected populations in in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey

UNICEF is requesting US$624 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis faced by Syrian refugees and other vulnerable children in the region for 2015.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:
2.6 million

people access safe water


children receive school supplies


people receive psychosocial services

2015 Requirements: US$624,266,522

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Total affected population: 4.27 million*
Total affected children: 2.2 million

Total people to be reached in 2015: 2.9 million*
Total children to be reached in 2015: 1.6 million**/***

*based on refugee population projections by end 2015;
** including vulnerable host populations;
*** not including 16.3 million children vaccinated against polio

The conflict in Syria is entering its fifth year, with no signs of abating. As of November 2014 10.9 million Syrians were displaced within and outside Syria, including over 3.3 million refugees across Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt. More than half of the refugee population are children (over 52 per cent). Turkey now hosts 1.16 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon hosts almost 1.15 million, while Jordan hosts 0.62 million. The armed conflict in Iraq has further compounded the Syrian refugee crisis there, with over 2.2 million Iraqis displaced within Iraq since January 2014. Many of the 210,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq are located in the same geographical area as Iraqi IDPs, placing a major burden on host communities and services. The number of Syrian refugees across the sub-region is expected to rise to 4.27 million by the end of 2015.

The scale and protracted nature of the Syrian crisis is challenging the ability of host governments and the international community to meet the continuing need for essential life-saving humanitarian assistance. 2015 humanitarian efforts will thus be coupled with efforts to buildL the medium and long-term resilience of affected individuals, households, communities and institutions in refugee hosting countries.

Humanitarian strategy

2015 Programme Targets


  • 16.3 million children vaccinated against polio in countries hosting Syrian refugees


  • 592,000 people access safe water
  • 300,000 children screened for malnutrition
  • 290,000 children receive school supplies
  • 190,000 people receive PSS services
  • 150,000 children receive seasonal clothing


  • 1,840,000 people access safe water
  • 72,000 caregivers reached with IYCF
  • 12,000 children receive school supplies
  • 203,000 people receive PSS services
  • 30,000 vulnerable families receive monthly cash assistance


  • 123,948 people access safe water
  • 14,000 screened for malnutrition
  • 12,000 children receive school supplies
  • 26,000 children receive PSS services


  • 250,000 children receive multi-micronutrient supplementation
  • 180,000 children receive school supplies
  • 50,000 people receive PSS services


  • 30 schools constructed, renovated or rehabilitated
  • 10,000 people receive PSS services
  • 10,000 health care consultations for Syrian refugees supported

UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy for Syrian refugees is in line with the 2015-16 inter-agency Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), which brings together humanitarian and resilience interventions to meet the needs of Syrian refugee children and their families, as well as those of host communities and other vulnerable groups impacted by the crisis.

In 2015, the focus of UNICEF’s WASH programme will be to transition from emergency services to more sustainable cost-effective WASH systems in areas impacted by the refugee influx. Water tankering will be progressively replaced by new or reinforced piped water networks benefitting refugees as well as host communities. In refugee camps, UNICEF will support the transition from common to household-level and environmentally-friendly sanitation facilities that account for fragile groundwater, through more rational use of resources and better wastewater treatment. Accessibility and gender-sensitivity of facilities will also be strengthened. UNICEF will work with local authorities to augment and improve existing water, sewage and waste collection systems for residents, host families and refugees alike.

In health, UNICEF will increase access to quality and equitable health care for refugee and host populations through direct interventions and through strengthening the capacity of national health systems to address needs. This includes strengthening routine immunization campaigns, especially for polio which continues to be a threat in the region. In nutrition, UNICEF will prioritize preventative measures, specifically the promotion of appropriate infant and young child feeding practices and micronutrient supplementation, and will support rapid assessments to facilitate nutrition monitoring.

In line with the No Lost Generation (NLG) initiative, UNICEF will promote non-discriminatory access to quality and relevant formal and non-formal education for both refugee and vulnerable host community children. This will include expanding public sector intake capacity in first and second classroom shifts through classroom rehabilitation and the provision of school equipment, supplies and learning material. Interventions will also focus on strengthening the provision of non-formal education through engagement with civil society, and improving the quality and relevance of learning through remedial education, catch-up classes, life skills, child-centered interactive and innovative approaches (like e-learning), and secure school environments. In child protection, UNICEF will work to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect and separation of children, in line with the NLG. Priority will be given to strengthening national child protection systems to provide services such as child-sensitive police and legal procedures for those in custody, legal guardianship and protection of children who are survivors of violence, child sensitive social welfare and health services, including shelters for child survivors of violence, and birth registration services. Families and communities will benefit from community-based psychosocial support, and from strengthened community networks and protection committees. Specialised child protection services will continue to be provided to address a range of issues including violence in the home and school, unaccompanied and separated children, child labour, early marriage, recruitment and detention. Child protection concerns and child rights violations will continue to be monitored and documented, while strengthened sex- and age-disaggregated data will be collected to better inform advocacy and programming. In addition, the percentage of birth certificates issued to refugee children will be increased as a matter of priority. UNICEF will support the most vulnerable families to meet their basic needs through the provision of seasonal non-food items, like winter clothing, and cash grants to help cover other essential necessities and household costs.

UNICEF will focus on harnessing the potential of adolescents and young people through interventions that engage them to eliminate discrimination, exclusion, and prejudice, and by prioritizing educational opportunities and skills-development beyond basic education. UNICEF will also work to improve the economic situation of adolescents and youth and their families, and to provide opportunities for community participation, mentoring and youth life skills development. Under the NLG initiative, education and protection strategies tailored for adolescents and youth, both boys and girls, will be promoted, such as accelerated learning, remedial education, vocational training, and extra-curricular activities, as well as positive engagement with communities. UNICEF will continue to maintain preparedness for possible new influxes of refugees from Syria, including through pre-positioning supplies and decentralizing programming in areas close to the Syrian border. Regional support will ensure multi-sectoral capacity is in place to provide a quality and timely response to countries affected by the Syria crisis.

Results 2014

UNICEF scaled up operations in response to the continued arrival of refugees across the sub-region in 2014 with some US$ 369 million received by mid-November 20141. In WASH, UNICEF supported over 1.3 million refugees and other vulnerable people to access safe water. This support included reinforcing WASH systems in Za’atari and Domiz camps, in Jordan and Iraq respectively, to reduce costs of temporary services and to provide the basis for durable WASH solutions in camps by the end of 2015. These improvements will be followed up in 2015 to realise full cost savings. While municipal sanitation and waste management systems were reinforced, temporary solid waste management sanitation services continued in camp and non-camp settings. With only 15 per cent of refugees living in formal camps, plans to take WASH interventions to scale in host communities will be taken forward in 2015. In Lebanon, UNICEF continuously supported WASH services in informal tented settlements.

In response to continued identification of polio cases in Syria and Iraq, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) supported national Ministries of Health to roll out polio campaigns across the sub-region, including 30 national or sub-national campaigns reaching some 22.8 million children aged under five years. UNICEF also supported routine health services, including vaccinating 1.2 million children against measles. Measles targets in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey were planned as contingency in case of an outbreak, however as no outbreaks occurred, vaccinations were only given to new arrivals in Iraq and Jordan, while no vaccinations were administered in Turkey. Nutrition surveys in refugee-hosting countries continued to show that malnutrition is not a major concern, however preventative interventions were conducted including through the provision of micronutrients or supplementary feeding.

UNICEF supported over 376,000 children to access formal or informal education, through support to school construction and rehabilitation, teacher training and provision of school materials for teachers and students. UNICEF advocated to ensure that more children will access formal education in the 2014/15 school year, and Syrian children started to benefit from certified education opportunities from the end of the 2013/14 school year. However, policy and capacity barriers have continued to limit education service scale-up, with 49 per cent of Syrian refugee children remaining out of school through the 2013/14 school year.

Over 633,000 children were provided with psychosocial support services, including through Child and Adolescent Friendly Spaces and through education programmes. UNICEF supported referral to specialised services, including for separated and unaccompanied minors and children with psychological distress. UNICEF supported the verification and documentation of cases of grave child rights violations against children in Syria, which was critical to informing evidence-based programming and advocacy. Over 163,000 vulnerable children received warm winter clothing during the 2013/14 winter season, and a further 570,000 children are targeted to receive warm clothing in the 2014/15 winter season.

Funding requirements

In line with the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) 2015-16, UNICEF is requesting US$624 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis faced by Syrian refugees and other vulnerable children in the region for 2015. The funds will enable UNICEF to continue programming support for those living in and outside camps, as well as reinforce services and public administration in communities impacted by the influx of refugees. The funds will also help to strengthen the resilience of refugees and the communities impacted by the crisis, as well as other target groups – such as Palestinian refugees from Syria – by supporting needed services in communities and building up national emergency response capacities.

This chapter of the Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) for Syrian refugees and other affected populations is complimentary to the separate HAC chapters on Syria and Iraq. The budget in this chapter is not reflected in those chapters.

1 Funding received exclusive of carry-forward from 2013
2 Results as of end November, 2014
3 2013/ 2014 school year
4 This includes contingency supplies for all sectors to provide immediate response to refugee influxes as well as technical support and quality assurance.