UN calls for sustained support for Syrians

BRUSSELS, Three UN principals Wednesday warned that the crisis in Syria is not yet over, calling for “sustained and large-scale” support for vulnerable Syrians, refugees and the communities hosting them. “Without an immediate and substantial injection of funds, life-saving provisions of food, water, health care, shelter and protection services will likely be interrupted,” said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock. “It is vital that the international community remains by the side of every woman, man, girl and boy in Syria who need our help to meet the very basic requirements of a dignified life. If donors provide the funding, we can implement the plans to help achieve that,” he said.

As the crisis enters its ninth year, humanitarian needs inside Syria remain at record levels with 11.7 million people in need of some form of humanitarian aid and protection. Some 6.2 million people are internally displaced and more than 2 million boys and girls are out of school in Syria, while an estimated 83 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line, according to a UN statement.

The UN called for increased funding to help people in need through a USD 3.3 billion appeal for the response inside Syria, and a USD 5.5 billion refugee and resilience plan for neighbouring countries.

“Having just visited Syria and Syrian refugees in Lebanon, I’m deeply troubled by the widening gap between their massive needs and the support being made available for the international refugee response, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Eight years into the largest refugee crisis in decades, “around 70 percent of Syrian refugees live a razor-edge existence below the poverty line,” he added. “In Syria, poverty is soaring, basic service infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, and the social fabric is strained to the limit,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “Host governments and communities in countries neighbouring Syria need our support to stay the course in extending their generosity to refugees while at the same time maintaining the momentum of their own development path,” he added.

Despite generous funding by donors in 2018, only 65 percent of the USD 3.4 billion required for the inside-Syria plan last year was received, while the regional refugee and resilience plan requesting USD 5.6 billion for 2018 was 62 percent funded. The three UN officials jointly called on the international donor community to pledge generously for 2019 during a high-level conference in Brussels on Thursday.

Source: Kuwait News Agency