Today, UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock briefed the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, where he expressed concern at the lack of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2401, which demanded a cessation of hostilities, without delay, for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria.
ERC Lowcock noted that the United Nations stands ready to deliver humanitarian assistance, with convoys ready to depart to ten besieged and hard-to-reach locations, including the besieged area of eastern Ghouta. “We are working closely with the International committee of the Red Cross and with the Syrian Red Crescent to ensure all support for medical evacuations are in place,” he said. But "if there has been no humanitarian access since the resolution on Saturday, what has happened in the last few days? More bombing. More fighting. More death. More destruction. More maiming of women and children. More hunger. More misery. More, in other words, of the same."
"While we continue, as the Secretary-General’s report details, to reach millions of people in urgent need in areas controlled by the Government of Syria, and through the cross-border programmes you mandated in resolution 2393, assistance across conflict lines to millions of people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas has in recent months totally collapsed", he said. "Unless this changes, we will soon see even more people dying from starvation and disease than from the bombing and shelling. The United Nations remains focused on reaching those most in need throughout the country, including the 5.6 million people considered to be in acute need. The needs-based approach means the United Nations will continue to seek to deliver aid and to provide services to millions of people in a principled manner regardless of where they are located. More than half of those in need are in government-controlled areas. But millions more are not."
In his conclusions, ERC Lowcock stressed that "what the Syrian people need has been made abundantly clear. Protection. Access to basic goods and services. An end to sieges. Respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law." He reminded the Council that this was unanimously supported in passing resolution 2401.
Photos: Duma, East Ghouta/OCHA/G.Seifo