Syrian Arab Republic Appeal
Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
Syrian Arab Republic snapshot
- The scale, severity and complexity of humanitarian needs in the Syrian Arab Republic remain extensive. Over 11 million people (4.8 million children) require assistance and 6.1 million people are internally displaced (2.5 million children). Continued hostilities have caused multiple displacements, and the socio-economic impacts of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are hitting families and children extremely hard.
- In 2021, UNICEF will deliver life-saving services to children and families and apply a targeted, multi-sector systems strengthening approach through its partners and field offices. UNICEF will address the specific needs of girls, boys, adolescents, women and men using a conflict-sensitive approach, emphasizing accountability to affected populations and focusing on the prevention of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.
- UNICEF requires US$330.8 million to reach children in the Syrian Arab Republic with humanitarian assistance in 2021. This includes significant funding requirements for health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child and social protection.
Key planned results for 2021
1.5 million primary caregivers receiving infant and young child feeding counselling
3.2 million children vaccinated against polio
4.1 million people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
2.4 million children accessing explosive weapons-related risk education/survivor interventions
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Following a decade of conflict and humanitarian crisis, localized hostilities in the Syrian Arab Republic continue to intensify. The situation is further aggravated by the economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts, and the rising cost of basic food items. The scale, severity and complexity of humanitarian needs remain extensive.
Over 11 million people in the Syrian Arab Republic, including 4.8 million children and 3 million people with disabilities, require humanitarian assistance; and 6.1 million people are internally displaced. People spontaneously returning home urgently require critical assistance and the restoration of basic services in destroyed communities.
Grave violations of children's rights continue unabated. Children are killed and injured by the persistent use of explosive weapons in civilian areas, the destruction of health and educational facilities and recruitment into the fighting. Nearly 2,600 communities are affected by explosive contamination, with 11.5 million people (3.1 million children) at risk. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by harmful coping mechanisms, including early marriage and gender-based violence.
Years of conflict have dramatically reduced access to basic services in the Syrian Arab Republic: 2.5 million children aged 5 to 17 years are out of school and an additional 1.6 million children are at risk of dropping out or not learning. Some 10.7 million people require access to WASH services, including 3 million people who are experiencing acute needs. COVID-19 containment measures are further eroding access to services, including routine immunization, education, protection, case management and mental health and psychosocial support.
In addition, half a million children are chronically malnourished and 137,000 children under 5 years are suffering from acute malnutrition, heightening their risk of contracting a preventable illness and even death.
Since December 2019, some 940,000 people in the northwest (194,000 women and 566,000 children) have been displaced, in addition to the 2.7 million people who are already displaced. Of the 4 million people living in northwest Syrian Arab Republic, 2.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The northeast is a highly complex operating environment. Al-Hol camp currently hosts over 65,000 people (94 per cent children and women; 53 per cent children under 12) who are fully dependent on humanitarian assistance. In addition, over 2,200 people in Al-Roj camp need humanitarian assistance. In the south, Rukban camp has not been reached by a humanitarian convoy since September 2019, and informal commercial routes are closed.
In the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF will prioritize its assistance in high severity areas using the Whole of Syria approach through its hubs in Damascus, Gaziantep and Amman.
UNICEF will strengthen life-saving and preventative nutrition services, including treatment for acute malnutrition and safe and appropriate infant and young child feeding practices. A priority will be supporting continuous access to equitable health and nutrition services for the most vulnerable. This includes reaching children under 5 years through the Expanded Programme on Immunization and supplementary immunization activities in hard-to-reach areas. UNICEF will also support infection prevention and control interventions in health care facilities, schools, learning spaces and service centres and ensure safe access. The use of personal protective equipment will be promoted extensively given the COVID-19 context.
To foster strong linkages between humanitarian action and development programming, UNICEF will deliver life-saving and sustainable interventions, including emergency water, support for sanitation and solid-waste facilities, hygiene promotion, hygiene kit distribution, and the restoration and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities. The COVID-19 response will include the light rehabilitation of WASH services in quarantine and isolation centres and support for increasing per capita water supply and access to soap.
UNICEF will support equitable and continued access to quality education, alternative learning, self learning and early learning through the implementation of safe-school protocols and remote-learning methods, in line with the No Lost Generation initiative. This will include the light rehabilitation of over 13,000 schools to decrease crowding.
In child protection, UNICEF will support equitable and continued access to psychosocial support, parenting programmes, case management for vulnerable children (including those with disabilities), and specialized services for survivors of violence, exploitation and abuse. To address the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, UNICEF will expand social protection for the poorest families through cash transfers, in line with the Grand Bargain commitments. This will facilitate continued learning, support children with disabilities and supplement hygiene kits and clothing.
Gender-based violence risk mitigation will be strengthened across all sectors, and prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse will be scaled up. UNICEF will also continue to strengthen its leadership role on risk communication and community engagement and support mine risk education.
UNICEF will integrate gender and disability considerations across its programmes. Communications will promote positive practices and behaviours. The focus on adolescents and young people will be expanded through positive engagements and cross-sectorial services, life-skills programmes, vocational education and entrepreneurship training.
In 2020, the United Nations Security Council reduced the number of border crossings authorized for cross-border humanitarian assistance, leaving only the Bab al-Hawa gate between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey. In response to the new United Nations Security Council Resolution, the United Nations has been working to expand the capacity of Bab al-Hawa and UNICEF will continue to deliver life-saving programmes and supplies, while expanding cross-line activities within the Syrian Arab Republic, including to Al-Hol camp.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in the Syrian Arab Republic; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.