Egypt has been undergoing a political transition since the revolution of 25 January 2011. The revolution was largely fuelled by a widespread sense of political, economic and social exclusion, especially among youth. It led to the stepping down of former President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power and ushered in a transitional period that has seen presidential and parliamentary elections and the appointment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Morsi in July 2012.

Growing dissatisfaction amongst the Egyptian population led to millions taking to the streets on 30 June 2013, the President being deposed and the establishment of an interim Government with Presidential elections due in May 2014.

Street protests and terrorist attacks have become frequent and a key challenge will be building consensus around key issues in the democratic transition process and in undertaking the needed economic reforms to bring back tourists and investors into the country.

The economy has been one of the most fundamental challenges facing Egypt since 2011. Political uncertainty has negatively impacted tourism, foreign investment and the level of foreign reserves. Growth rates have subsequently fallen, food prices and unemployment have increased, and more than one in four Egyptians are estimated to live below the international poverty line of two dollars per day. The poorest have been most severely impacted and are extremely vulnerable to economic shocks.

The situation in North of Sinai remains volatile, with violent and clashes between extremists and the army frequently taking place with significant causalities.

Since 2013, there has been a significant increase in refugee arrivals in Egypt from the Syrian Arab Republic. As of 9 April 2014, 136,094 Syrian refugees were registered with UNHCR. According to the Government of Egypt, the number of registered refugees may significantly understate the scale of the influx. It estimates that the actual number of Syrian refugees in Egypt may be as high as 300,000, since many of those arriving opt not to register.

Most Syrian refugees in Egypt are scattered in urban neighbourhoods, sharing and renting whatever accommodation they can afford. The highest concentration of Syrians registered with UNHCR live in Greater Cairo, Alexandria and Damietta.

OCHA ROMENA is supporting the UNCT in emergency preparedness, particularly in developing a contingency plan for delivering humanitarian assistance into Gaza and other risks in Egypt. 


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