The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has resumed the provision of assistance to people displaced from Yarmouk camp in Syria, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Egypt said in a statement Tuesday.
“UNRWA has resumed humanitarian operations to civilians from Yarmouk, in the nearby areas of Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham, following a one week break due to security concerns,” said UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness, adding that the agency’s team provided essential health services, dental services, vaccinations, nutritional supplements and fresh food sufficient to feed 600 civilians for one week.
UNRWA’s latest Situation Report says fresh and dry food was delivered to a central community kitchen, including 1,200 packets of bread. At the same time, a mobile health point was established, which treated 465 patients over the course of Saturday, finding five cases of hepatitis A, as well as five cases of moderate malnourishment in children and one of acute malnourishment.
“Despite the security issues of recent weeks, UNRWA remains fully committed and determined to implement its humanitarian mandate towards the civilians from Yarmouk,” he said. “They have suffered inordinately and we continue to demand humanitarian access to those inside the camp itself.”
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) contributed to the operation, UNRWA’s report said, pointing to the range of nutritional supplements, food and medicines they supplied, and paying tribute to the speed and generosity with which these agencies have responded to the Yarmouk crisis, particularly in supporting the needs of displaced and vulnerable children. Those receiving assistance are comprised of Palestinian and Syrian families displaced or affected by conflict, as well as host communities, and the missions deliver a broad range of critical humanitarian materials to each of the families, including food, medical supplies, water purification treatments, mattresses, blankets, family kitchen sets and hygiene kits.
These ongoing operations represent a sustained demonstration of the commitment of the UN, both UNRWA and partners, to providing essential assistance to all civilians affected by the crisis in Yarmouk.
UNRWA’s priority remains the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians within Yarmouk itself and reiterates its strong demand for respect and compliance with obligations to protect civilians and to establish secure conditions under which the agency can deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance.
The vulnerability of civilians in Yarmouk remains of the highest severity. UNRWA is deeply concerned that without access, the most basic humanitarian needs of up to 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian civilians, including 3,500 children, continue to be left unmet.
As well as outlining efforts made by UNRWA to prepare for a range of emergencies including large displacements to areas where the agency currently has no access, the Situation Report contained a call for support as violence continues to profoundly threaten the lives and safety of Palestine refugees throughout Syria.
The agency appealed for an immediate injection of $30 million to its urgent Call for Funds, and pointed out that its Syria Crisis Appeal had so far received only 20 per cent of the funding required for 2015, undermining UNRWA’s capacity for humanitarian interventions in Syria.