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:
20.9 million

children under 5 immunized against polio


children access quality learning opportunities through formal and non-formal education


children benefit from psychosocial support


people access safe drinking water

2014 Requirements: US$613,018,391

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Total affected population: 4.1 million
Total affected children (under 18): 2.15 million

Total people to be reached in 2014 (including vulnerable host populations): 24.5 million
Total children to be reached in 2014 (including vulnerable host populations): 23.7 million*

* Target for polio vaccination

Conflict, violence and economic turmoil in Syria have affected nearly half of the population, including 4.27 million children. As of December 2013, over 1.1 million children and their families have been forced to take refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt,1 and while crossing borders has offered Syrian children protection from the worst of the violence, these children remain at risk. Children arrive in host countries traumatized by the events they have experienced. The threat of measles, polio, malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases persists. Sixty-eight per cent of refugee children are out of school.2 In Jordan, more girls are marrying at a young age; children are more likely to be exposed to violence; and one in 10 children is working, with boys more likely to participate in the worst forms of labour. Although 20 per cent of Syria’s 2.3 million refugees live in 40 refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, the majority of Syrian refugees live in host communities.3 Many of these families are exposed to harsh conditions and, living in makeshift settlements, face increased risk of disease. The burden of meeting the basic needs of these refugees is also taking a massive toll on local services and systems. Water supplies are strained in Jordan, which already faces among the worse water scarcity in the world.4 In Lebanon, health care costs have increased and classrooms are overcrowded.5

Humanitarian strategy

2014 programme targets


  • 840,000 children vaccinated against measles
  • 1,120,000 children vaccinated against polio
  • 385,000 access safe water
  • 350,000 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 520,000 access safe water
  • 195,000 children access education
  • 180,000 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 4.6 million children vaccinated against measles
  • 5.7 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 95,500 children access education
  • 40,000 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 1.3 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 238,500 children access education
  • 103,500 children benefit from psychosocial support


  • 12.8 million children vaccinated against polio
  • 23,000 children access education
  • 14,500 children receive psychosocial support

In 2014, UNICEF’s response to Syrian refugees will continue to focus on life-saving humanitarian interventions in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, child protection, health and nutrition. At the same time, national governments will be supported to build the resilience of host communities and strengthen local public services to meet the additional demand. UNICEF and its partners will continue to provide safe water and sanitation in camps and, more broadly, extend inexpensive and sustainable access to water to refugees and host communities. Polio vaccination campaigns initiated after the confirmation of polio cases in Syria in October 2013 will continue in 2014, and will aim to vaccinate over 20 million children across the region.6 In addition, UNICEF will continue to prevent other diseases, including through measles vaccination. Seasonal response plans will protect children from the worst winter weather conditions through the provision of winter clothes, blankets and heating for classrooms. In response to the massive surge in the number of out-of-school children, and building on the groundwork established by the Regional Refugee Plan, the ‘No Lost Generation’ strategy has been developed to provide all Syrian children with protective environments and learning opportunities. The strategy covers both immediate humanitarian response interventions and long-term support that will build the resilience of children, communities and the education and protection systems that are critical to their futures. For example, UNICEF and partners will provide learning materials, teacher trainings, temporary classrooms and other support to enable all refugee children to go to school. In addition, psychosocial programmes will be provided to address children’s trauma. UNICEF will also coordinate the sectors and working groups it leads in each affected country.

Results from 2013

UNICEF appealed for US$360,192,407 for Syrian refugees in 2013, and as of mid-November 2013, US$323.95 million, or 90 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. With these funds, UNICEF supported access to formal education and learning programmes for over 267,000 children; administered 4.7 million measles and 21.8 million polio vaccines to refugee and non-refugee populations by end of the year; and reached 388,000 children with psychosocial support provided mainly through schools and child-friendly spaces or, as in Lebanon, through other community gateways, including community and registration centres. More than 330,000 people, including refugees and people from host communities, were supported with access to safe drinking and domestic water. UNICEF and its partners also facilitated safe WASH in camps in Jordan and Iraq. Outside of camps, household WASH infrastructure has been constrained by scattered populations and tensions with host communities, especially in informal tented settlements in Lebanon. In Iraq, UNICEF and partners responded quickly to the rapid influx of at least 40,000 refugees in August with WASH services, immunization and tented classrooms. UNICEF’s interventions in Turkey were complemented by the Government of Turkey’s strong response. Throughout the sub-region, UNICEF continues to scale up its education response, including by providing school supplies, rehabilitating schools, training teachers, providing pre-fabricated classrooms and subsidizing learning spaces in semi-private schools to address major barriers to education, including school fees and lack of space, resources and security. A support programme to help children through the cold winter months, which will include the distribution of blankets and clothing and the provision of heating in schools, will be rolled out in all countries.

Results through 27 November 2013 unless noted

Funding requirements

In line with the 2014 Syria Regional Response Plan 6, UNICEF is requesting US$613 million to respond to the needs of Syrian refugee and other vulnerable children in the region in 2014. These funds are urgently needed to meet the basic water, sanitation, health, education and protection needs of refugee children, 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), 14 November 2013.
2 UNICEF calculations are based on UNHCR data and data from the ministries of education in host countries.
3 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Syria Regional Refugee Response - Inter-agency Information Sharing Portal’, UNHCR, <>, accessed 23 December 2013.
4 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.
5 World Bank, Lebanon Economic and Social Impact Assessment of the Syrian Conflict, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2013, pp. 2-3.
6 The polio response covers children in host communities in Egypt and Iraq that were not covered under the Regional Response Plan.
7 All children in formal, non-formal or psychosocial support in education programmes.
8 Basic needs covers the target population’s necessary seasonal non-food items and sufficient access to energy to survive winter without adverse effects.
9 These funds will support a coordinated regional approach for planning, monitoring, reporting, communications, sharing human resources and fundraising through a sub-regional hub dedicated to humanitarian response.