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Map of Syrian refugees
UNICEF photo: girls, including one in a wheelchair, playing © UNICEF Jordan/2018/Herwig Amal, 9, plays with Tasneem and Hala, both 10, on the seesaw in the new inclusive playground at her school in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Amal is in the third grade.

Syrian refugees

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

In 2018, UNICEF and partners plan for:
513,149

individuals accessing adequate quantity of safe water through improved water systems

Over 1.2 million

children enrolled in formal general education

268,000

children participating in structured, sustained child protection or psychosocial support programmes

2019 Requirements: US$903,976,371

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2020 Requirements: US$828,539,411

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 20,076,64822
Total children (<18) in need: 8,043,49223

Total people to be reached: 3,088,50524
Total children to be reached: 1,789,18525

The Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest displacement crisis in the world, with over 5.6 million registered refugees, including over 2.5 million children, living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.1 Despite the efforts of host governments to provide the refugees with access to public services, such as health and education, demand continues to exceed the capacity of institutions and infrastructure to respond. This is particularly the case in urban areas with significant concentrations of vulnerable populations, where high demand is impacting the quality of services. The protracted presence of Syrian refugees has exacerbated pre-existing socioeconomic disparities in host countries,2 with perceived competition for jobs and access to resources and services fuelling local tensions. While Syrian refugees share similar challenges with poor host community members, such as high levels of economic insecurity, they often encounter additional challenges3 to meeting their basic needs due to their legal status4 and the impact of residency and labour policies on their mobility and access to essential services. Among the refugees, women, girls, boys, adolescents, youth, the elderly, unaccompanied and separated children and persons with disabilities5 are the most at risk. Lack of livelihoods and opportunities for self-reliance lead refugee households to resort to informal, sometimes unsafe, exploitative or dangerous work. In some cases, children, often boys, are forced to drop out of school and go to work.6 Women and girls bear the brunt of sexual and gender-based violence7 due to continued reliance on harmful cultural and traditional practices such as child marriage. The registered Syrian refugee population is expected to remain substantial throughout 2019. Insecurity, physical risks, lack of availability of essential services, livelihoods and job opportunities, and legal obstacles to reclaiming property and obtaining civil documentation continue to challenge the sustainable, voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees to the Syrian Arab Republic.

Humanitarian strategy

2019 programme targets

Turkey

  • 615,000 children enrolled in formal education
  • 60,000 children enrolled in non-formal education
  • 450,000 children receiving conditional education cash grants
  • 74,900 children participating in child protection/psychosocial support programmes
  • 60,000 people receiving cash-based interventions, including winter support

Lebanon

  • 465,000 children enrolled in formal education
  • 16,000 children participating in child protection/psychosocial support programmes
  • 386,191 individuals accessing adequate quantity of safe water through improved water systems
  • 40,000 households receiving seasonal support through in-kind assistance
  • 19,000 youth trained on life skills
  • 254,000 children/pregnant women receiving multiple micronutrient supplements

Jordan

  • 137,206 children enrolled in formal education
  • 80,000 children participating in child protection/psychosocial support programmes
  • 211,500 individuals accessing adequate quantity of safe water through improved water systems
  • 20,000 children receiving polio vaccination
  • 35,000 individuals receiving monthly cash assistance
  • 30,000 caregivers/mothers reached with infant and young child feeding counselling

Iraq

  • 30,700 children enrolled in formal education
  • 12,370 children participating in child protection/psychosocial support
  • 75,000 individuals accessing adequate quantity of safe water through improved water systems
  • 15,000 children receiving polio vaccination
  • 10,500 households receiving seasonal support through in-kind assistance
  • 6,000 primary caregivers receiving infant and young child feeding counselling

Egypt

  • 15,000 children enrolled in formal education
  • 40,000 children participating in child protection/psychosocial support programmes
  • 15 million children receiving polio vaccination
  • 4,500 children receiving cash transfers
  • 7,100 children benefiting from life-skills education

In 2019 and 2020, the inter-agency Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan will address the protection8 and humanitarian needs of refugees9 and vulnerable host community populations, while strengthening the capacities of national and sub-national service delivery systems and providing strategic, technical and policy support to advance national responses.10 To address the protracted and complex nature of the refugee crisis, UNICEF will strengthen its inclusive strategy11 and gender equity in life-saving humanitarian interventions,12 while building local resilience by supporting community-based services, developing the capacities of local actors and influencing policies for children.13 Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and supplies14 will be provided in camps and informal settlements. UNICEF will also promote the transition to more sustainable and cost-effective WASH solutions, including through connection to existing water networks. Equitable access to preventive and curative health and nutrition interventions15 will be enhanced through routine vaccinations, the expansion of immunization coverage, mass campaigns against outbreaks of diseases such as polio and measles,16 improved identification, referral and treatment of acutely malnourished children and the promotion of proper feeding practices, including infant and young child feeding. UNICEF will continue to strengthen the linkages between education, child protection and adolescent and youth programming under the No Lost Generation initiative. Children and caregivers will gain equitable access to structured, sustained psychosocial support and specialized child protection assistance.17 Child protection monitoring, reporting on grave violations and support for victims and children at risk of child labour, child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence will be central to the response, as will accountability to affected people. UNICEF will strengthen national education systems and improve access to and the quality of learning opportunities for boys and girls, focusing on out-of-school children and children with disabilities. Non-formal/ informal education interventions will be expanded and complemented by back-to-learning outreach. UNICEF will overcome demand-side barriers to education through cash incentives and transportation, building the capacities of teachers and education personnel18 and supporting the integration of Syrian refugee teachers into education systems with financial incentives. Young people and families with vulnerable children, including children with disabilities, will receive social protection, cash transfers, seasonal/winter support and non-food items to strengthen their capacities to address basic needs. Generation Unlimited, the new United Nations partnership and commitment for youth, will be streamlined into the refugee response with programmes supporting the education and skills training/employment of youth, and youth-led initiatives that provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and social cohesion.

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$671.7 million available against the US$951.8 million appeal (71 per cent funded).19 UNICEF supported governments and partners to deliver essential services to the most vulnerable children in refugee camps and host communities, focusing on integrated programming, technical assistance and capacity building of national institutions, and the use of cost-efficient and sustainable approaches to service delivery through community-based interventions. UNICEF’s integrated social protection programme in Jordan expanded from supporting only registered Syrian refugees in 2016 to including all vulnerable Jordanian children in 2018, thus enhancing social cohesion. In Egypt, the use of a community-based child protection approach and other highly cost-effective working models, such as working through primary health care units to deliver child protection services, resulted in high beneficiary reach despite the funding shortfall. The transition of the Makani programme20 to a community-based approach in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan generated efficiency gains and enhanced refugee ownership of the programme. In Iraq, UNICEF worked with government partners to sustain WASH services in the eight Syrian refugee camps in Dahuk and Erbil, focusing on durable water and sanitation systems. In Lebanon, linkages between cash-based social protection and adolescent programming were strengthened to support an integrated education-based inclusive response addressing multiple deprivations affecting children’s well-being and their learning outcomes. UNICEF worked in partnership with the Government of Lebanon to strengthen systems and support local communities to build youth and adolescent capacities to play a positive role in their communities and enhance employment opportunities. In Turkey, UNICEF continued to increase the awareness of families and the Government on the negative effects of child labour and strengthen the national system’s capacity to respond. Donor funding helped UNICEF reach almost 1.2 million children with formal education and more than 101,000 children with non-formal/informal education opportunities in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. More than 299,000 children, adolescents and youth participated in structured child protection/psychosocial support and parenting programmes21 and over 151,700 children, youth and adolescents in Jordan and Lebanon enhanced their life skills through training. In Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, almost 301,000 people in host communities gained improved and sustained access to safe water and over 368,000 people benefited from temporary water provision in camps/informal settlements. Furthermore, almost 38,000 caregivers and mothers in Iraq and Jordan benefited from infant and young child feeding counselling and over 151,000 children accessed routine vaccination in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

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Funding requirements

In line with the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2019–2020, UNICEF is requesting US$904 million for 2019 and US$828.5 million for 2020 to meet the humanitarian and resilience needs of Syrian refugees and other vulnerable children in the region. In addition to country level requirements, a regional funding requirement is included that covers technical and quality assurance support to the responses in the five refugee-hosting countries. In line with its Grand Bargain commitments, UNICEF is advocating for flexible and long-term funding, which is crucial to implementing a systems approach and prioritizing allocations to the most vulnerable children. This Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for Syrian refugees and other affected populations complements the separate appeals for the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

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1 The order of countries reflects the number of hosted Syrian refugees, in descending order. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2019-2020 in Response to the Syria Crisis: Regional strategic overview’ (draft), UNHCR, 2018; and UNHCR data portal, accessed 20 November 2018. The 3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan document was not finalized/published at the time of writing this appeal. The appeal may be updated to be aligned with the published 3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, once finalized.
2 Socio-economic vulnerabilities, exacerbated by the protracted emergency, are worse for female-headed households, and even worse for families that include a person with a disability, who are also less food secure, have worse diets, adopt severe coping strategies more often, and have higher poverty levels.
3 An increased number of displaced Syrians living in urban areas makes it harder for organizations to assist, as people in need are more dispersed and difficult to identify and locate. Other challenges include the shortage of data and the lack of partners with experience in urban responses. Displaced Syrians living in urban areas face challenges in obtaining information on access to services and making informed decisions.
4 Including timely access to residency, due to centralized and lengthy administrative procedures.
5 Persons with disabilities are at high risk of violence, discrimination and exclusion. A data gap on disability persists, limiting the targeting of interventions aimed at improving the situations of children and youth living with disabilities. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, disability and illness is still a barrier for at least 7 per cent of school-aged Syrian refugee children. See Iraq country chapter in ‘3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2019-2020 in Response to the Syria Crisis’ (draft).
6 An estimated 700,000 Syrian children remain without access to any form of education in the five Syrian refugee-hosting countries. ‘3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2019-2020 in Response to the Syria crisis’ (draft).
7 In Iraq, sexual and gender-based violence incidents are mostly reported by women (48 per cent) and girls (27 per cent), with low reporting by men (13 per cent) and boys (12 per cent). See Iraq country chapter in ‘3RP Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2019-2020 in Response to the Syria Crisis’ (draft).
8 The Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan aims to ensure that refugees’ protection needs are identified and addressed by mainstreaming age, gender and diversity approaches across all sectors to address these risks and realize durable solutions. This includes leveraging national social protection systems to address the vulnerabilities of both refugees and host communities and the integration and application of community-based protection for people-centred interventions and community empowerment initiatives.
9 Including those living in camps, settlements and local communities, accross all sectors.
10 The Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan emphasizes continued outreach and partnership with local organizations and the private sector for innovative solutions in the response, engaging with young people and adolescents to ensure better reflection of their needs and to unlock their full potential and enhanced accountability mechanisms and durable solutions for refugees.
11 Noting the protracted nature of the crisis, ‘durable solutions for Syrian refugees’ has been added as a strategic direction for 2018. These are defined as: voluntary refugee returns; local solutions and opportunities; resettlement to a third country; and access to a third country through legal means other than resettlement (complementary pathways).
12 Targeting the most vulnerable populations, including children with disabilities in areas with the most acute needs.
13 Priority will be given to local actors, in line with the Grand Bargain commitments. These efforts will be advanced through policy development, planning, sector coordination, information management and monitoring.
14 Including provision of safe water, water system rehabilitation, operation/maintenance, wastewater and sewage services, as well as the delivery of hygiene kits and hygiene promotion to reduce the risk of WASH-related morbidity.
15 Particularly to children under 5 years and pregnant and lactating women.
16 Health systems and capacities will be also strengthened through training of health service providers and increasing access to essential health supplies and quality primary health care services.
17 Such as case management, legal services, family tracing and reunification, emergency alternative care and release, rehabilitation and reintegration support.
18 On life-skills education, psychosocial support and improved pedagogy to help deliver quality education.
19 Available funds include US$415.9 million raised against the current appeal and US$255.8 million carried forward from the previous year.
20 The Makani programme provides vulnerable children and youth with access to integrated services that include learning support, community-based child protection, early childhood development and life skills, through 172 centres. The Makani centres also provide parenting skills to parents and caregivers and mobilize community leaders to address various issues that children and youth face in their respective communities.
21 This includes 240,498 children reached with psychosocial support and 58,819 men and women reached with positive parenting programmes.
22 The population in need by country is: 5,840,941 in Egypt; 491,793 in Iraq; 1,193,414 in Jordan; 952,562 in Lebanon; and 11,597,938 in Turkey. Sources include the UNHCR Syrian refugee data portal (accessed on 20 November 2018), relevant response plans and national statistics for the host populations.
23 The number of children in need by country is: 1,745,760 in Egypt; 211,770 in Iraq; 342,767 in Jordan; 527,719 in Lebanon; and 5,215,474 in Turkey. Sources include the UNHCR Syrian refugee data portal (accessed on 20 November 2018), relevant response plans and national statistics for the host populations.
24 The number of people to be reached by country is: 98,500 in Egypt; 92,200 in Iraq; 292,955 in Jordan; 969,095 in Lebanon; and 1,635,755 in Turkey.
25 The number of children to be reached by country is: 75,000 in Egypt; 48,700 in Iraq; 157,205 in Jordan; 749,000 in Lebanon; and 759,280 in Turkey.
26 The Palestinian programme covers the response to Palestinian refugees in Syrian-refugee hosting countries.