UN, partners launch $4.4b plan to support over 5m Syrian refugees

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UN agencies and NGO partners on Tuesday released a 4.4-billion-U.S.dollar plan designed to support more than 5 million refugees from Syria and the vulnerable communities hosting them in neighboring countries.

The plan is known as the 2018 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), said Adrian Edwards, UN refugee agency spokesperson at a regular briefing in Geneva.

“Seven years on, the conflict in Syria continues — devastating lives and forcing millions to flee from their homes.

“Despite the generosity showed by neighboring countries, most Syrian refugee families — and many in their host communities — fall below the poverty line and struggle to meet basic needs,” said Edwards.

The 3RP aims to help 5.3 million refugees and 3.9 million members of host communities in 2018 in various sectors, including protection for refugee populations, education, health, food security, livelihoods, and water and sanitation services.

The plan brings together some 270 humanitarian and development partners, in support of national efforts, to ensure refugees and host communities receive the support they desperately need.

“The conflict in Syria continues to drive the largest refugee crisis in the world,” said Amin Awad, UNHCR director for the Middle East and North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee Coordinator for Syria and Iraq.

“While we hope that a political solution is soon on the horizon, it is vital that we continue our support to Syrian refugee families whose needs and challenges increase with every passing year in displacement,” he noted.

The situation for the 1.7 million Syrian refugee school-age children remains particularly worrying. “While partners have worked to enroll almost one million children already, over 40 percent of school age Syrian refugee children remain out of school,” said Awad.

“These children are truly becoming part of a lost generation. We must collectively do better in 2018,” he said.

Four years ago since it started, the 3RP continues to lead international efforts to help neighboring countries deal with the impact of the Syria crisis, which has taken an increasingly significant social and economic toll as the conflict has continued unabated.

“We must recognize the tremendous efforts made by countries and communities hosting refugees from Syria, providing vital and generous support even while facing their own challenges,” said Mourad Wahba, director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States in a statement.

“The international community must strengthen its support for host countries in this vital effort,” he said.