Amman, Jordan / Cairo, Egypt – 18 November 2020 — UNFPA is appealing for a total of USD 131.6 million to fund its regional response to the Syria crisis, which spans 11.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, in addition to nearly 5.6 million refugees throughout Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
The appeal also includes urgent funding required to address the substantial needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has added yet another layer of complexity to a protracted and multi-faceted situation.
“As the Syria Crisis approaches its 10th year, people across Syria and in host communities throughout the region continue to face a crisis that has passed its tipping point in terms of scale and generational change,” commented Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Regional Director, Arab States. “While parts of Syria appeared to stabilize in recent years, the situation remains volatile in other areas. The rapidly deteriorating economic crisis and the wider ramifications of the pandemic have significantly exacerbated the situation, placing more lives at risk.”
Women and girls throughout the region continue to bear the brunt of the crisis. They suffer frequent disruptions in access to essential sexual and reproductive health services and face the risk of gender-based violence in its various forms, including family and domestic violence, sexual assault, and negative coping mechanisms like child and forced marriage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant restrictions on movement, these risks have been further compounded by confining women and girls in harmful situations while exacerbating the economic challenges that contribute to such violence.
In 2020, despite the numerous restrictions that accompanied COVID-19, UNFPA provided life-saving sexual and reproductive health services to 1.9 million people through 264 health facilities, mobile clinics and outreach teams, in addition to providing safe deliveries to 98,000 women. Meanwhile, 800,000 women and girls benefited from UNFPA gender-based violence programmes. UNFPA also continued to support the empowerment of women, girls and youth through its 116 specialized women and girls’ safe spaces and 22 youth centres.
UNFPA plans to continue delivering these life-saving services to people in need throughout the region, with a focus on ensuring continued access to essential sexual and reproductive health services to people in need as well as quality prevention and response services to the escalating risks of gender-based violence. Response programmes are being tailored to lend greater focus to particularly vulnerable segments of the population such as adolescent girls and people with disabilities. To offset the dire impacts of COVID-19, UNFPA continues to liaise with health authorities throughout the region to support national response strategies, in addition to piloting cash and voucher assistance programmes to families in need in Syria and in host communities in Lebanon and Jordan.
“Even in these circumstances, we believe that every woman and girl has the right to access quality sexual and reproductive health services as well as protection from gender-based violence,” added Shabaneh.