Syrian Refugees 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 refugees snapshot
- Nearly 11 years on, the Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest displacement crisis globally. Nearly 5.7 million registered refugees, including almost 2.7 million children, live in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. COVID-19 continues to impact families’ livelihoods, health and access to services, further compounding their vulnerability. Nearly 20.6 million people, including almost 5.8 million children, need urgent assistance.
- UNICEF will continue to reach refugee children living in camps, informal settlements and urban settings—as well as vulnerable children from host communities—with essential education, WASH, child protection, health, nutrition and social protection services and adolescent and youth programmes.
- In 2022, UNICEF requires US$972 million to respond to the most immediate needs of Syrian refugees and vulnerable host communities, while helping to mitigate the ongoing negative effects of COVID-19.
Key planned results for 2022
730,297 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
57,500 women and children accessing gender-based violence mitigation, prevention, response
1.8 million children accessing educational services
260,000 household reached with cash transfers through government system with UNICEF support
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
The Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest displacement crisis in the world, with no end in sight. After more than 10 years of conflict, nearly 5.7 million registered refugees—including almost 2.7 million children—still live in camps, informal settlements and host communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Of the 20.6 million people in need, 3.2 million people require WASH assistance, 2.2 million children require child protection services and 4.1 million children require education support.
Although host governments continue to generously provide essential services for vulnerable refugees and affected host communities, public resources and infrastructure are increasingly stretched thin. Since 2020, COVID-19 and ensuing mitigation measures have had a devastating impact on families’ livelihoods, health and access to services, further compounding their vulnerability and well-being. While Syrian and host community families experience similar hardships, Syrians face additional challenges in meeting their basic needs due to their legal status. The result has been widening inequalities, weakened social cohesion and increased health and protection risks.
In Turkey, home to 3.6 million Syrians, over 400,000 refugee children still lack access to education. In Lebanon, economic collapse has led to runaway inflation and nearly the entire Syrian refugee population cannot afford the survival minimal expenditure basket. In Egypt and Iraq, already weak public health systems have been battered by the impact of COVID-19, further limiting Syrians’ access to essential care. Jordan is the largest refugee hosting country relative to its population, with 89 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants. Jordan hosts over 1.3 million Syrians, including 670,637 registered refugees, of which 129,822 are living in camps, and remaining refugees have settled in urban and rural communities. Meanwhile across the region, climate change and prolonged water scarcity are posing severe threats to children’s development and fragmenting social cohesion.
Within this context, major challenges remain in realizing children’s rights. Refugee children—particularly girls and those out of school—are highly vulnerable to numerous protection risks, including psychosocial distress, exploitation and gender-based violence. COVID-19 has also disrupted or reduced access to routine immunization and formal education, while increased food insecurity and child poverty is resulting in an overall decline in children's well-being. As vulnerable families struggle to survive, they are increasingly resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as child labour and early marriage. Children and youth with disabilities are also acutely marginalized as access to services remain out of reach.
In 2022, under the framework of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan and the No Lost Generation initiative, UNICEF will reach nearly 3.4 million Syrian children in camps, informal settlements and urban settings—as well as vulnerable children in host communities.
Across all five countries, UNICEF will work closely with government and NGO partners to address the refugee crisis and mitigate the secondary effects of COVID-19, in line with national priorities and coordination mechanisms. The response will support equitable access to essential services and build the capacities of national actors and institutions, ensuring continuity with longer-term system strengthening strategies and durable solution frameworks.
Education programmes will focus on enhancing access to quality, inclusive formal and non-formal learning opportunities in safe, child-friendly environments. UNICEF will also support efforts to promote learning continuity and provide cash assistance and supplies for the most vulnerable families.
In WASH, UNICEF will facilitate access to life-saving services, build resilience and strengthen durable solutions in light of the growing water scarcity crisis. Interventions, particularly in camps and schools, will integrate COVID-19 infection prevention control and risk communication and community engagement activities.
Child protection programmes will focus on strengthening national prevention and response mechanisms, while supporting case management and large-scale psychosocial and parenting activities in vulnerable communities. UNICEF will also strengthen the capacities of front-line workers and community groups to promote child rights.
In health and nutrition, UNICEF will improve access to comprehensive primary health care, including vaccination, antenatal and postnatal care and nutrition, including through infant and young child feeding counselling and case management of illnesses. UNICEF will also strengthen community outreach, engagement and referrals to primary health care centres.
To address rising poverty levels and COVID-19 related socioeconomic shocks, UNICEF will support development and roll-out of national social protection programmes and direct cash grants to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable.
Adolescent and youth programmes will expand access to quality technical and vocational opportunities to improve employability, especially for young women. UNICEF will also increase opportunities for meaningful participation and empowerment, and promote COVID-19 prevention and awareness.
Across all programmes, UNICEF will foster gender equity and inclusion to provide girls and children with disabilities with targeted support. Prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and gender-based violence will be mainstreamed by raising awareness and increasing the accessibility of secure and safe reporting channels. UNICEF will also improve its accountability to affected populations by strengthening established feedback mechanisms.
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 Syrian refugees and other affected populations in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.