When Syria erupted in civil war in July 2011, RedR Australia mobilised the right people with the right skills to respond to the crisis.
In the first year of the Syrian crisis, we sent four people including a physical site planning and shelter expert to UNHCR in Jordan, a nutritionist to support the World Food Programme's (WFP’s) regional response, a reporting officer to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Jordan and a child protection and gender-based violence expert to UNICEF in Lebanon.
Our child protection and GBV expert, Merrin Waterhouse, set up UNICEF’s child protection emergency response with special attention on developing and coordinating responses to abuse, violence and exploitation, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) interventions for the displaced Syrian population in Lebanon.
Our nutritionist helped design the tools for nutrition assessments in Lebanon and Jordan and analysed the data collected. She subsequently assisted with the costings and design of a food basket for Syria.
In 2012/13, we sent 37 people to support the emergency responses of UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq as the flood of refugees became a tsunami and more than a million poured into neighbouring countries including Iraq and Turkey. Most of our experts supported UNHCR and included civil engineers, site planners and a shelter expert; water and snaitation (WASH) specialists and logisticians; experts in protection, ICT, communications and information management as well as emergency response coordinators and specialists in monitoring and evaluation, public health and emergency education.
Our team played pivotal roles in the planning, designing and constructing of Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan and were leading on disability inclusion and wheelchair accessibility during planning for the Azraq camp. These camps provided shelter and basic services for more than 250,000 refugees and, by March 2013, Za’atari was the fourth largest city in Jordan. RedR deployees also coordinated the distribution of life-saving supplies and provided clean water and sanitation services to the camps reducing the risk of disease. Our Monitoring and Evaluation expert developed a regionally harmonised M & E system for WFP’s Syria operation.
In 2013/14, we sent 16 people to respond to the Syrian crisis and two to respond to the civil war erupting in Iraq. They included WASH specialists, electrical engineers, logisticians, protection experts, humanitarian affairs and emergency response coordinators, public health officers and communications and information management experts. Our experts went to Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey and joined UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, WFP and OCHA. UNHCR remained the main recipient hosting 10 of our experts.
We currently have four people supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon and two in Turkey.They include specialists in child protection, education in emergencies, water and sanitation, civil-military coordination and youth development. Click here for stories on how we have supported Syrians with logistics, civil military coordination, protection and communications.
In total, we have deployed 77 experts to the Syrian response. They have been stationed in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.