Humanitarian Action for Children 2012

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Iraqi Refugees in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0750/Noorani

Volunteers work at an early childhood development centre, at a camp for Palestinian Iraqi refugees in Syria. More than 1.5 million Iraqis remain in neighbouring countries, refugees from ongoing political violence in their country.

Children and Women in Crisis

With a persistent atmosphere of conflict, violence and political discord inside Iraq, more than 1.5 million Iraqis continue to seek refuge in surrounding countries, most notably Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. According to UNHCR, the Syrian Arab Republic received the largest number of Iraqi refugees (estimated at 1 million by the Government1) with approximately 113,000 people, including 45,000 children. There are an estimated 34,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan; 9,300 in Lebanon; and 7,500 in Egypt.2 The return of people to their homes is impeded by continuing fears and insecurity, while economic deterioration, a by-product of the current regional instability, presents major financial and social challenges for refugee families in their countries of asylum.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

UNICEF will continue to work with the Governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as UNHCR, other UN agencies and NGOs to address the needs of vulnerable Iraqi refugees by providing the following interventions:

In the Syrian Arab Republic, more than 10,000 refugees will receive primary health and nutrition care services; 25,000 Iraqi children will be enrolled in preschool and primary and secondary schools; and 1,000 vulnerable refugees and Syrians from hosting communities will receive vocational training focusing on refugee minors, youth and school dropouts. Another 11,000 Iraqi and vulnerable Syrian children and 600 families will benefit from community-based psychosocial and protection services, and 7,500 Iraqis and Syrian adolescents will benefit from improved adolescent spaces and activities.

In Jordan, UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education in accommodating Iraqi children in public schools. At the community level, greater emphasis will be placed in providing educational and psychosocial assistance to the most vulnerable groups of Iraqis, including drop-out and out-of-school children, pre-primary school-age children, and children with disabilities. More than 9,000 Iraqi and Jordanian children and their parents will receive assistance through community-based education interventions. Some 3,800 children and their parents and NGO professionals will benefit from psychosocial interventions. UNICEF will continue to co-lead the education sector working group with Save the Children to ensure effective coordination.

In Lebanon, UNICEF will promote the protective environment within schools and communities for Iraqi refugee children and families. Psychosocial interventions will be provided to 300 Iraqi refugee children and their families. Communities will benefit from outreach activities of 200 services providers in child protection mechanisms. UNICEF will enhance the capacity of 150 teachers and administrators from the Ministry of Education, 50 social development centres and 200 parents to improve the integration of Iraqi refugees in the national school system. In addition, 200 Iraqi children and youth who are dropouts will be supported through vocational training, life-skills activities, recreational activities and assistance for reintegration into the formal educational system. In close coordination with UNHCR, identified cases of at-risk children will be monitored, and advocacy for the integration of Iraqi refugee concerns into the national agenda continued.

In Egypt, UNICEF will improve access to psychosocial counselling for 1,500 Iraqi children. Capacity building for 25 psychosocial workers will be supported in collaboration with the Psychosocial Training Institute. UNICEF will increase the capacity of 13 primary health centres to operate as healthy baby clinics, and conduct health awareness and screening among Iraqi mothers and 3,000 children.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

As of October 2011, US$773,750 (2 per cent) of the US$40,056,000 requested was received for support to Iraqi refugees.

In Syria, more than 5,000 children benefited from child-friendly spaces, 4,000 education professionals were trained and 60 schools were renovated. Capacity building of health professionals focused on maternal and child health, nutrition and surveillance. National Immunization Days and a localized polio eradication campaign reached more than 90 per cent of children in high-risk areas.

In Jordan, UNICEF successfully advocated for free access to public education and learning materials for Iraqi refugee children. UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education in operating 72 rental schools, 20 double-shifted schools and multi-purpose rooms at 29 schools. Twenty NGOs and community-based organizations provided educational and psychosocial services to 10,000 Iraqi and Jordanian children.

In Lebanon, UNICEF offered psychosocial assistance to 125 cases; support classes to 300 children; vocational training for 25 dropouts; referral of 150 cases to basic social service providers; and training to 100 teachers and social workers in 4 social development centres.

In Egypt, 15 health workers were trained in comprehensive health screening for 3,000 children under 5, in addition to awareness, education and support in nutrition and disease prevention to their mothers. The medical referral system was strengthened for critical cases.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting a total of US$11,404,000 for its work assisting vulnerable Iraqi women and children in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, who require sustained assistance to assure basic living standards and fundamental protection.

More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at

1 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR Global Appeal 2012–2013: Iraq, UNHCR, Geneva, 1 December 2011, p. 154. 
2 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Regional Data Analysis Group, Statistical Report on UNHCR Registered Iraqis and Non-Iraqis: Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and the GCC countries’, UNHCR, Geneva, 31 October 2011, pp. 5, 7, 9, 11, 13.