Damage sustained to Palestine refugee homes in Lattakia camp as a result of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. (2023 UNRWA Photo)
On the one-month anniversary of the Turkiye-Syria earthquakes, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched an updated flash appeal for US$ 16.2 million to meet the humanitarian and early recovery needs of Palestine refugees who were affected by this natural catastrophe in Syria and Lebanon.
Among the first humanitarian organizations on the ground, UNRWA provided emergency relief services, including health, psychosocial and mental health care, food and cash assistance, non-food items, and rental subsidies and housing to Palestine refugees in Aleppo and Lattakia.
The earthquake also caused damage to an already weak housing and infrastructure in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, including medical and educational facilities and water towers.
UNRWA said in a press release issued on Monday that this updated flash appeal will enable it to support affected Palestine refugees with cash and non-food items until August 2023. The appeal also seeks funding for the rehabilitation of UNRWA premises and homes of Palestine refugees that were destroyed or damaged by the earthquakes.
“The earthquakes and their aftershocks caused an unfathomable level of suffering to people in Northern Syria, across the fault and conflict lines including Palestine refugees,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.
“The Agency was able to respond to their most urgent need for safety and assistance on the very first day, including by having some 700 people sleep in an UNRWA school in Lattakia. We are counting on our partners to help us help Palestine refugees in this time of acute need”, added Lazzarini.
As of 21 February, an estimated 13,905 Palestine refugee families (46,534 persons) in Syria have been affected by the earthquake.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, UNRWA opened its Al Khairiyeh school in Latakia to provide hundreds of Palestine refugees (together with several hundred Syrians) with safe shelter. In the first week, more than 1,000 Palestine refugees and Syrians affected by the earthquake were provided with breakfast and hot meals on a daily basis.
Under this appeal, UNRWA plans to support the repair of a total 500 Palestine refugee shelters and address the immediate health needs of 46,531 Palestine refugees affected by the earthquake through an increase in hospitalization referrals, patient subsidies and psychosocial counselling.