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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
31 July 2015

Dera’a witnessed a significant escalation of violence in late June 2015, followed by sporadic clashes throughout July. UNRWA was forced to temporarily suspend operations and services in Dera’a City in late June as armed violence prevented staff and refugees from safely accessing the UNRWA area office and other facilities. This recent violence further aggravates the already dire humanitarian situation of Palestine refugees living in Dera’a, the majority of whom face increasingly severe constraints in accessing the most basic services and humanitarian assistance. UNRWA estimates that the majority of Palestine refugees residing in Dera’a refugee camp were forced to flee over the course of 2012 and early 2013, and remain displaced to date. A significant proportion of Palestine refugees living in Dera’a Governorate reside in areas under the control of non-state armed groups, with extremely limited access to services and assistance. UNRWA is deeply concerned that increasing violence and limited humanitarian access in the coming months will continue to harm the safety and well-being of the estimated 20,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Dera’a Governorate.

FOOD ASSISTANCE: UNRWA distributed food parcels to 396 families (1,904 individuals) via 15 distribution centres in the Damascus area, Dera'a, Neirab, Homs, Latakia and Aleppo. The Agency also distributed 859 food parcels to refugees in collective centres, in addition to daily hot meals.

CASH ASSISTANCE: The second round of cash assistance for 2015 started on 31 May, targeting over 460,000 refugees. Between 31 May and 31 July, UNRWA distributed cash to 257,125 refugees (74,685 families). Each collected the equivalent of US$ 64 in Syrian pounds. This round of cash assistance is accompanied by a verification exercise to ensure UNRWA beneficiary lists are up to date.

HEALTH: UNRWA provides primary health care to up to 480,000 refugees in Syria through 14 health centres and 11 health points. In July, health centres conducted 71,120 consultations. The majority of patients seeking consultations were female (56 per cent). As part of UNRWA initiatives to foster healthier lifestyles, the Agency continues to run health awareness campaigns on a variety of subjects. These range from the importance of personal hygiene and hand washing, to the dangers of drugs and tobacco, and the importance of physical activity. These informative sessions take place at schools, collective centres, health centres and health points.

NON-FOOD ITEM ASSISTANCE: UNRWA distributed 3,208 packs of diapers for infants, 4,114 packs for elderly refugees and 3,184 packs of sanitary napkins for female beneficiaries living in UNRWA-managed collective centres via distribution centres.

EDUCATION: Between 21 June and 20 August, the UNRWA Summer Learning Programme is supporting students who have missed classes or dropped out of school. Fifty-two participating schools are organizing activities and providing support in mathematics, Arabic, English, French, music, sports and art. Over 8,000 students have participated so far. School parliaments were established as part of the summer learning programme to help students develop communication, negotiation and presentation skills. In addition, 28 teachers working in safe learning spaces took part in workshops on behavior modification, psychosocial support and learning difficulties. UNRWA currently runs 8 safe learning spaces in Syria, giving children the opportunity to study and participate in recreational activities in a supportive environment.

COLLECTIVE CENTRES: UNRWA operates 36 collective centres in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, providing shelter to 12,153 Palestine refugees and Syrian IDPs, including 180 new-borns, 191 persons with disabilities and two unaccompanied children. UNRWA provides daily food, health and social services to collective centres, in addition to regular NFIs, garbage collection, cleaning and water/sanitation maintenance and upgrades.

WATER, SANITATION & HYGIENE: A heat wave across the Middle East saw temperatures in Damascus topping 39 °C (101°F). The provision of clean, safe drinking water remains paramount to ensuring adequate hydration amongst refugees, and containing the threat of water-borne disease. UNRWA provided 2,900 cubic metres of fresh potable water for 6,800 families in Khan Dunoun, Khan Eshieh, Shahba and Artouz. The Agency also provided 6,000 water filter and sanitation tablet kits to 8,000 families in rural Damascus.

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