Civil defence workers and residents search through the rubble of collapsed buildings in Idlib province, Syria, 6 February. (Photo: AP)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Syria urged all participants at the International Donor Conference held a few days earlier in Brussels to support its urgent financial requirements to receive US$ 16.2 million for the UNRWA 2023 Syria-Lebanon Flash Appeal, to meet the humanitarian and early recovery needs of Palestine Refugees affected by the earthquake.
UNRWA said that the devastating earthquake that struck the north of Syria on 6 February impacted thousands of Palestine Refugees. There are nearly 47,000 affected Palestine Refugees in Aleppo, Latakia, Jableh and Hama. More than 2,300 continue to be displaced.
UNRWA was able to respond to the needs of the affected population that it could access, including through food and non-food items like hygiene kits and blankets, psycho-social support for children, and telemedicine support for vulnerable individuals, including older persons.
The Agency has distributed cash assistance to families of Palestine Refugees in the affected areas. UNRWA schools have opened and children have received support through catch-up classes and psycho-social support.
In addition, there are nearly 10,000 Palestinian Refugees living in north-west Syria who have been affected by the earthquake and are in urgent need of assistance.
“We call on donors to support all those affected, including Palestine Refugees in these areas so they could receive the assistance they urgently need”, said UNRWA.
UNRWA in Syria said it remains committed to providing crucial assistance to Palestine Refugees in the aftermath of this disaster, but it cannot do this alone.
“We appeal to donors to join our efforts and prioritize the needs of all those affected by the earthquake, including those in north-west Syria”, said the Agency in its appeal. “Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable and in desperate need of our support”.
An estimated 13,905 Palestine Refugee families (46,534 persons) in Syria have been affected by the earthquake; 18 Palestine refugees have died and 11 sustained injuries. 562 Palestine Refugee houses sustained damages, 76 of which have been severely damaged.
The most pressing needs of the refugees impacted by the earthquake are repairs to their damaged houses; rental support for alternative places of residence; food, cash, and hygiene materials for those displaced; and psychosocial support. In the medium term, they need funds to be able to repair their houses, and jobs.