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Updated on 12 March 2018
An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 2.5 million have fled to Syria's immediate neighbors Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria.
The SYRIAN REFUGEE APPEAL aims to provide humanitarian aid to refugee families in the wake of the civil war. Through consultation with local partners and volunteers in both Lebanon and Turkey, The World Federation has learned that the most pressing areas of need among these refugee families include food and nutrition, and essential non-food items.
SYRIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON
Since the unrest in Syria began in March 2011, thousands of Syrians have fled their homes and sought refuge in Lebanon, predominantly in the north and in the Bekaa region. The flow of refugees continues to increase and population movements remain fluid with daily border crossings.
Having fled hurriedly and left most personal assets behind, refugees face uncertainty and insecurity in Lebanon. Dwindling cash reserves and high rental prices force families to stay with host families, rent spaces with other families, or live in informal camps. All of these scenarios result in cramped or substandard living conditions. Refugees also struggle to purchase food and essential household items, take care of health needs, and adequately prepare for summer or winter.
Most families are comprised only of women and children, and there are many vulnerable individuals among refugee families, including unaccompanied minors, pregnant and lactating women, handicapped individuals, widows, and the elderly. Finally, there is evidence of significant psychological trauma among the refugee community. Many tell stories of fleeing for fear of abuse or torture and they talk of lost relatives, destroyed homes, and little or nothing to which to return to.
Although the percentage of Syrian male and female refugees in Lebanon are slightly different (48% males, 52% females), women and children remain more vulnerable. Men are finding it difficult to find jobs in Lebanon’s weakened economy. Women rarely work and do not have in income, making it all the more difficult to survive, especially for those who came to Lebanon without their husbands. Most of the Syrian refugee families are in need of food and non-food items (NFI) including hygiene items, blankets, clothes, towels, and kitchen utensils to help them cope with the reality of their daily life.
PREPARATION OF 1,000 FOOD BASKETS AND NON-FOOD ITEMS
The World Federation has partnered with an agency to assist refugee families who have registered with UNHCR and those who have not (fearful minorities and new arrivals with pending registration) by providing them with 1,000 food baskets and non-food items. Volunteers in Lebanon are hard at work preparing these aid kits for distribution. It is our hope that these aid items will help alleviate some of their worries. As soon as these packs are ready, volunteers will begin delivering them to families.
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Read part two of this series written by our re-settlement officer during the Yemen crisis.