According to UNHCR, the Syrian crisis is the fastest growing refugee crisis with over 3.45 million Syrian refugees in the five host countries by the end of 2013. While Syrian refugees face desperate circumstances, the hosting Governments of Syrian refugees and the humanitarian community face an increasingly challenging and complex humanitarian crisis which, beyond refugees’ immediate protection and assistance needs, threatens the balance of the entire region.
According to UNHCR Regional Response Plan, by the end of 2013, there were some of 71,050 Palestine refugees in the region whose increasing displacement from the camps in Syria have displaced and added to the growing political complexity of the regional refugee crisis. Those were distributed over the region as follows: Lebanon hosts a total of 52,000, Jordan (10,000), Gaza (1,350), Egypt (6,000), Libya (1,100) and Turkey (1,600). Palestine refugees from Syria – PRS – who have sought refuge in Egypt, Turkey and further countries are beyond the operational mandate of UNRWA. In addition, Palestinian Refugees from Lebanon who had moved to Syria during the civil war and 1982 invasion have forced to return back to Lebanon again. Those as well as Palestine Non-IDs who are not registered with UNRWA and host countries, and those who illegally fled to Lebanon from Syria, and therefore have no border check stamps on their identity papers, are also beyond UNRWA mandate and are excluded from its support and services.
Lebanon and Jordan are considered the two countries hosting the highest number of Syrian refugees, while Lebanon hosting the highest number of Palestinian refugees from Syria -PRS. This has come at a heavy price with the acknowledgment the fact that the response in these countries needs to address the wider impact of the refugee influx (on infrastructure and local communities).
According to UNRWA figures by the end of 2013, the number of registered PRS in Lebanon was reached to 51,000 persons belong to 15,000 families. Between Jan and Feb 2014 an additional 500 PRS families have fled to the country. Almost half of the PRS (51%) have settled in the camps while the remaining 49% have settled outside the camps and mainly in the poor gathering surrounding the camps.
The rising number of inhabitants of the Lebanese Palestinian camps and gatherings due to the influx of displaced PRS and Syrians had increased the problem of infrastructures in the camps due to lack of UNRWA resources and the absence of strategic plan to address these problems. This had left its impact on the economical and social situations in the Palestinian camps which are already overcrowded, and led to increase the financial and economical burden on the hosted community and families.
The World Bank assessment results that was published in autumn of 2013 has pointed out that the Syrian crisis has made thousands of Lebanese suffering from poverty. This means the effects on the Palestinians are double because of their denial of human social and economic rights.
According to the World Bank report up to 170,000 Lebanese could slide into poverty due to the conflict next door, while unemployment could increase by as much as 10 percent by the end of 2014. The flow of huge number of refugees had caused occurrence and abundance of cheap labour, which in turn leads to weaken the situation of workers who come already from poor communities, and pull education and health services to the edge of collapse, and increase of rent prices.
In general, the influx of refugees has resulted an increase in available employment at a rate ranging between 35 to 50 percent, according to a World Bank report. In light of the economic recession, this situation leads employers to request more work for less pay – which is causing the abandonment of local workers in favor of hiring the refugees who accept lower wages.
This indirect impact of the crisis put thousands of Lebanese under poverty line and exacerbating the situation of poor people. Before the outbreak of conflict, the World Bank estimated that nearly 29 percent of the Lebanese people – or less than one million people – are classified among the poor, and those people who were selected are living on less than $ 4 per day. It is expected that the number will increase by the end of 2014.
On the other hand, at the level of providing key services, the huge influx of Syrian refugees had caused the inability of service systems to keep pace with growing demand. Lebanese government was already suffering from shortage of electricity, the average of saving electricity reached to 18 hours a day before the crisis. It is expected to fall this capability by the end of 2014 to 16 hours a day due to the increased demand by the refugees.
Similarly, the education and health services are facing immense pressure exceeds Lebanon capacity. Although the estimations indicate that about 81 percent of Syrian children are not enrolled in schools, those who have been registered in schools are causing shortage of classroom seats in advance.
The World Bank predicts that the Syrian crisis will continue through 2014, and that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon will increase to reach at least 1.6 million refugees at the end of 2014, which is equivalent to 37 percent of the population of Lebanon before the crisis. However, Lebanon is receiving huge number of displaced Syrians more than any other country; Lebanese government is not able to do much for Syrians by its own. The World Bank estimates that in order to return the situation of Lebanon as it was before the crisis, it will need about 2.5 billion dollars, mostly through external funding.
United Nations and the Lebanese government had called for collecting 1.2 billion dollars and 450 million dollars respectively to cope with the refugee crisis in 2013. And so far, United Nations and its partners had received only 44 percent of its launched appeal to Lebanon, while the Lebanese government did not get any of the intended funding according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
On the other side, UNRWA had called for assistance in 2014 to provide urgent humanitarian assistance for up to 440,000 Palestinian refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, to 80,000 to 100,000 Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria to Lebanon, up to 20,000 in Jordan, and up to 1,200 in Gaza. These services include basic education, primary health care, social and infrastructure services in the camps, women’s and youth programs, and micro-credits. In addition to the activities of the humanitarian response, UNRWA regional network of existing services are directly provided by the local UNRWA staff which includes 13,000 employees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. For the next period, UNRWA needs to secure U.S. $ 417.4 million; the amount of 310 million dollars will be allocated inside Syria, allocates an amount of 90.4 million dollars in Lebanon, and the amount of 14.6 million dollars in Jordan. Also, it is required U.S. $ 2.4 million for regional management and emergency response offices outside the scope of these three regions, including cash assistance to the Palestinian refugee families from Syria in Gaza.
 UNHCR Regional Response Plan (RRP)
UNRWA winterization plan figures
 “The Brunt of the Syrian Conflict” assessment by World Bank