Map of Syrian refugees
UNICEF photo © UNICEF Iraq/2013/Chris Miles

Syrian Refugees

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

In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:
1.3 million

children vaccinated against measles


emergency affected people have access to safe water


school-age children have access to education

2014 Requirements: US$576,285,168

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Humanitarian situation


Total affected population: 4.1 million (UNHCR refugee projections by end 2014)

Total affected children: 1.8 million (based upon actual refugee population figures)

Conflict, violence and economic turmoil have affected nearly half of the Syrian population. As of 30 June 2014, some 2.85 million registered Syrian refugees, including over 1.4 million children, have taken refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.1 As the situation continues to worsen inside Syria, the number of refugees grows daily, with more than 100,000 newly registered Syrian refugees each month since January 2014. While Syrian refugee children have fled the worst of the violence, they remain at risk and in need of support in the host country. Syrian refugee children may experience psychosocial stress as a result of event, and many face persistent threats of measles, polio, malnutrition and diarrhoeal disease. Over 50 per cent of Syrian refugee children are out of school, there is an increase in numbers of child marriages, and 1 in 10 children are engaged in labour, with boys more likely to participate in the worst forms of child labour. There is also pressure on children, particularly boys, to return to Syria to fight. While some 400,000 refugees live in over 35 refugee camps across Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, the majority live in host communities. Many of these refugee families live in makeshift settlements and are exposed to harsh elements putting them at increased risk of disease. The burden of meeting the basic needs of refugees is taking a massive toll on local services, natural resources and systems. Water supplies are strained in Jordan and Lebanon, and low levels of average annual rainfall in the sub-region have led to increase risks of water borne diseases.2 In Lebanon, health care costs have increased and classrooms are overcrowded.3 The total number of Syrian refugees projected by the end of 2014 has been reduced from 4.1 million to 3.59 million, due to reduced arrivals in Iraq and Egypt. As such, UNICEF programme targets have been revised accordingly.

Humanitarian strategy

2014 Revised Programme Targets


  • 840,000 children vaccinated against measles
  • 650,000 children vaccinated against polio
  • 385,000 access safe water
  • 300,000 children benefit from psychosocial support
  • 713,000 children have access to quality formal and non-formal education


  • 1 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 440,000 access safe water
  • 150,000 children have access to quality formal and non-formal education
  • 180,900 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 5.8 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 124,000 access safe water
  • 71,324 children have access to quality formal and non-formal education
  • 31,200 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 1.5 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 200,000 children access quality learning opportunities
  • 103,000 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 14.5 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 25,000 children access quality formal and non-formal education
  • 24,500 children receive psychosocial support

In countries hosting Syrian refugees, life-saving humanitarian interventions will continue in the second half of 2014 in key UNICEF priority areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, child protection and health and nutrition. In parallel, UNICEF will focus on supporting national governments to build the resilience of host communities and strengthen local public services to meet additional demand.

UNICEF and partners will continue the provision of safe water and sanitation in refugee camps, and have begun work to extend more economical and sustainable access to water for refugees and host communities. This includes through the installation of water pumps in areas at threat of water scarcity in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. UNICEF will continue to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases in refugee populations through delivery of hygiene products and services, including hygiene promotion in schools and communities and distribution of key supplies. Polio campaigns are being prioritized and will continue to the end 2014, aiming to vaccinate over 25 million children across the region. Close nutrition situation monitoring will continue through regular surveillance, as well as promotion of appropriate infant and child feeding, including breastfeeding.

Seasonal response plans are being put in place to protect children from the worst of winter weather conditions through the provision of winter clothes, blankets and heating for classrooms.

UNICEF will continue to provide immediate humanitarian response interventions in education and child protection, in response to the major increase in the number of out of school Syrian refugee children, estimated at 480,000. This will be coupled with longer-term support for strengthen education and protection infrastructure and systems, which will in turn, help to build the resilience of children and their communities. UNICEF and partners will continue to provide learning materials, teacher training, temporary classrooms and other support to ensure all refugee children are able to go to school in safe and protective spaces. Additionally, psycho-social programmes will be strengthened and expanded to deal with the psychological distress that children are suffering. Enrolment in school can ensure children have access to key life-saving messages related to health and nutrition and can reduce children’s vulnerability to recruitment and other threats.

Results 2014 (January to June)

UNICEF is working to strengthen existing systems and infrastructure to cope with the additional stress presented by the high number of refugees in host countries, thus benefitting not only refugees but also vulnerable host populations. UNICEF has led efforts in the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene in camps in Jordan and Iraq and in informal tented settlements in Lebanon. During the first half of 2014, UNICEF facilitated access to safe drinking and domestic water to over 359,000 people in the sub-region (both refugees and host communities), including through reinforcing sustainable water supply and sanitation systems in camps. In Jordan over 88,000 emergency affected students have been supported to access WASH in their schools. In response to the polio outbreak in Syria multiple polio vaccination rounds have reached over 7.5 million children in Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, and some 14.5 million children in Egypt. Screening for malnutrition has been scaled up across the region to ensure vulnerable children are reached with therapeutic care when needed.

UNICEF continues to scale up its education response, including provision of school supplies, school rehabilitation, teacher training, and additional learning spaces. These interventions address some of the major barriers to education including school fees, lack of space, lack of learning resources and security concerns in and around schools. Through advocacy with governments, the number of children allowed to enter national education systems has increased. From January to May 2014, some 190,000 children have received education support, and for the first time in Jordan a small but significant cohort of refugee children have taken the national exams allowing them to pass to the next level of education. Over 363,000 refugee children have received psychosocial support including through Child and Adolescent Friendly Spaces, schools, and in Lebanon through other community gateways such as community and registration centres.

Funding requirements

In line with the revised 2014 Syria Regional Response Plan 6, UNICEF is requesting US$576 million to respond to the needs of Syrian refugee and other vulnerable children in the region for 2014. The reduction in funding needs is due primarily to reduced planning targets following the Regional Response Plan 6 Mid-Year Review. As of 30 June 2014, US$221 million, or 38 per cent of required funds, were available against the revised 2014 appeal. The remaining 62 per cent of funds are urgently needed to meet the basic water, sanitation, health, education and protection needs of Syrian refugee children through to the end of 2014, including those newly arriving each day. The funds will also support the resilience of host communities by improving water and sanitation systems, classrooms, protective mechanisms and health care systems, especially as competition for basic services increases.

1 Registration figures reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2 July 2014.
2 The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the United Nations, ‘Host Community Support Platform, Needs Assessment Review of the Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Jordan’, November 2013, pp 102-103.
3 World Bank, Lebanon Economic and Social Impact Assessment of the Syrian Conflict, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2013, pp 2-3.
4 All children in formal, non-formal or psychosocial support in education programmes.