* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.Behind Syria's staggering refugee numbers are people for whom the war remains a bitter, daily struggle to survive
CARE calls for more funding for the ever increasing needs of Syrian refugees and host communities
Amman, 17 June 2014. The registration of the three millionth Syrian refugee must be a wake-up call for the international community, says the aid organisation CARE International. “This staggering number is far from being reflected in the available funding and levels of support.
"Every day which passes, without more funding, refugees are falling deeper into poverty and despair,” says Thomas Reynolds, CARE’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. So far, the UN appeal for the Syria Crisis, with a required amount of USD 4.2 billion, has only been funded 27 percent. The Syria Needs Analysis Project (SNAP) estimates that the actual number of Syrian refugees in the region has almost reached a staggering 4 million. According to this figure, one in five Syrians has already left the country.
“A lot of Syrians CARE works with are not registered, because they are afraid that their names might end up on a list which will cause them difficulties upon their return to Syria.
Others cannot afford to cover the transport costs to travel to the registration offices,” says Reynolds. Lebanon, a tiny country of around 4.5 million, hosts more than 1.1 million refugees and thereby the biggest population of Syrian refugees in the world.
Jordan hosts around 600,000 refugees, Turkey more than 780,000, Iraq more than 230,000 and Egypt more than 130,000 registered refugees. Numbers are expected to dramatically increase as long as the conflict across the border persists. The current crisis in Iraq with hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing the fighting could also add to the pressure of the regional Syrian refugee crisis.
“Behind this staggering number are people for whom this war remains a bitter, daily struggle to survive. Families live in unfinished houses, work sites or tents. They have no money to buy food, to p
ay for medication and, they cannot cover the costs to send their children to school,“ says Reynolds. “Most of the refugees fled with nothing but the clothes they were wearing when they had to leave their country and their previous lives behind. They have lost their homes, their work and family members. After months and sometimes years of being a refugee, they have no more resources.”
The burden being placed on the host communities in the region must also not be forgotten. The large influx of refugees has had massive impacts on the income and expenditures of both refugees and their host communities. Schools are now overcrowded, hospitals full with wounded refugees, water, work and accommodations have become even scarcer for all. “The capacities are more than overstretched. This is nothing one country can manage by itself. As the 3 millionth registered refugee arrives we call on donors to support organisations such as CARE and the governments of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey who are each hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees”, says Reynolds. CARE supports Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt through the provision of emergency cash assistance, psychosocial support and strengthening of water supply and sewage systems, so both Syrian refugees and host families’ lives will be improved.
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. CARE has been working in Jordan since 1948. CARE Jordan has extensive experience working with refugees, providing livelihood training and opportunities, emergency cash assistance, information sharing and psychosocial support to Iraqi refugees since 2003. Find out more at www.care-international.org.
CARE’s Syria Response: CARE’s provision of life-saving services to Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt and to people affected by the crisis in Syria has already reached more than 290,000 people. In Jordan, CARE provides Emergency Cash Assistance for refugees so they can pay for basic living costs, including rent, medication and food. CARE assists with vital information on how refugees can access further health, legal and social support and provides psychosocial assistance to women, men and children. CARE Lebanon repairs water and sanitation infrastructure, provides health education sessions, works with municipalities to improve water supply and sanitation infrastructure for refugees as well as for host communities. Syrian volunteers, who are refugees themselves, are an integral part of CARE’s Syria Response. Alongside Jordanian and Lebanese volunteers, they assist in organising and preparing distributions of relief items.
During the winter months, CARE helped families in Jordan and Lebanon to prepare for and cope with the cold winter, distributing cash, heaters, fuel vouchers, blankets and floor mats. CARE Egypt has started raising awareness among the refugees of sexual exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence to protect them from any form of abuse. Our support to families affected by the crisis in Syria is based on humanitarian needs alone, no matter which religion, political affiliation or ethnicity people belong to.
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