Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Refugees

In mid-2012, 18 months into the crisis in Syria, most actors agreed that the picture of the humanitarian situation was incoherent and fragmented: displacement flows, the scope and depth of humanitarian needs and the longer-term impact on infrastructure and livelihoods were largely unknown. Much of the problem revolved around the sensitivities associated with gathering and sharing information on the affected population and restricted access to the field. In neighbouring countries hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, responses diverged and were not based on a coordinated and harmonised needs analysis. The Syria Needs Analysis Project (SNAP) was established in December 2012…
The Syrian civil war has created one of the largest and most intense episodes of human suffering of the early twenty-first century. The uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which began in March 2011, was widely recognised as part of the ‘Arab Spring’ that saw popular uprisings against dictatorships in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. When the rebellion began it was limited to relatively small, local skirmishes, but as the fighting has intensified so the numbers of internally displaced people and refugees have risen sharply. Turkey, which shares a 900-kilometre border with Syria, began receiving refugees in small numbers in…
As of September 2013, the crisis in Syria had seen over half a million Syrian refugees flee to Jordan, the vast majority of them (some 400,000) living in rented accommodation in host communities. This influx – equivalent to 5% of Jordan’s population – is placing increasing pressure on service provision and infrastructure, including water. An integrated needs assessment carried out by Oxfam GB in March 2013 found that, while the majority of refugees in host communities can access water through the municipal supply system, the cheapest source of water, this is intermittent and unreliable, and many are forced to buy…
With over two million Syrians seeking safety in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, highly political issues of citizenship, the role of the state and the status and entitlements of non-nationals are pressing questions for a large and rapidly growing number of people. The refugee crisis – one element of a larger displacement crisis affecting nearly 80% of the estimated 8.7m Syrians deemed to be in a situation of humanitarian need[1] – is massive and affects the entire region. It is unlikely that the war in Syria will end soon, and when it does it is implausible that refugees will immediately…
In the first week of March 2011, a group of schoolboys in the rural Syrian village of Dara’a were imprisoned for graffiti, after spray-painting the walls of a school with a common slogan of the Arab uprisings, ‘The people want to topple the regime’.[1] This event sparked anti-government demonstrations that would soon spread throughout the country. The ensuing conflict between government and rebel forces, which is now in its third year, has forced over two million Syrians to seek refuge abroad, principally in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, and further afield in Egypt. The relentless pace…
Syria is a highly urbanised country, and the conflict there has had a particularly devastating impact on its cities and towns. Homs, Aleppo, Damascus and many smaller towns have served as battlegrounds for government and rebel offensives, with tragic humanitarian consequences for their inhabitants. The battles for these cities have caused the breakdown of entire urban systems, destroying homes and public services and distorting urban markets and economies. Urban demographics have changed significantly as millions of Syrians have abandoned their homes. People displaced from one city to another or from rural areas to urban environments are forced into close proximity;…
In natural disasters and complex emergencies, access to high-quality, timely information is a critical precondition for effective aid delivery. Unfortunately, recent crises have exposed the shortcomings of the humanitarian community in rapidly gathering and effectively using information on the key needs and priorities of affected populations. Such shortcomings are largely due to the lack of dedicated interagency resources for the collection, analysis and dissemination of key information. As a result, post-emergency contexts are often characterised by significant gaps. The first gap concerns the emergency phase of a crisis, when the supply of data is insufficient to meet demand. As data…
In November 2011, fighting in Blue Nile State in Sudan led to the flight of some 25,000 refugees to Maban County, in Upper Nile State in South Sudan, where they were settled in two refugee camps, first at Doro and then, from December, at Jamam. More continued to arrive over the subsequent months. Six months later, in May 2012, a second wave of 35,000 refugees arrived, in very bad condition with some dying of dehydration from their journey. After an initial period in transit camps en route, most of this second wave was moved to Jamam camp; new camps were…
From its inception at the Global Conference in Oslo in June 1994, PARinAC – Partnership in Action – has set the tone and agenda for NGO– UNHCR relations. Its defining characteristic is that it has always been as much about the process of cooperation as about the building up of partnership structures; it is not an end in itself but rather a methodology for NGO– UNHCR relations. As a result of increased NGO–UNHCR cooperation there has been a more coherent and comprehensive approach to working with refugees and IDPs. In the autumn of 1998, UNHCR and its NGO partners proposed a review of the structures of PARinAC. How has it developed since…
This is a welcome report; it highlights successes, but also failings and weaknesses. It asks whether Kosovo refugees obtained appropriate protection and assistance, and whether UNHCR met its own standards. It looks at five areas in particular, namely context, including background, preparedness and initial responses; management; assistance and coordination; protection; and relations with the military. This short review touches only a few. Kosovo was not unique, even though no one disputes that the exodus was unusually large and swift – some 500,000 refugees fled within two weeks, rising to a high probably in the region of 850,000. No one disputes, either, that UNHCR was constrained by circumstance. But that aside, all the errors…
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