Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Credit: UNHCR/S. Malkawi
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners appealed today for $1.5 billion to assist civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria over the next six months, including those inside the country as well as those taking refuge beyond its borders.
The bulk of the appeal – $1 billion – is for the Syria Regional Response Plan, which will support refugees fleeing Syria to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. It is based on estimates that up to a million Syrian refugees will need help during the first half of 2013.
More than $519 million will be needed to support an estimated four million people inside Syria who need urgent humanitarian assistance, including an estimated two million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“The violence in Syria is raging and there are nearly no more safe areas where people flee to and find safety, as most parts of the country have now become engulfed in violence, including the capital, Damascus,” the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Radhouane Nouicer, told a news conference in Geneva.
“We are especially focusing on life-saving interventions and aiming to help people who have become displaced, host families and communities, and the poor suffering from the multiple effects of the current events,” Mr. Nouicer said.
The number of people in need of assistance inside Syria has quadrupled from one million in March 2012 to four million in December. The main needs outlined in the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan include food assistance, shelter, water and sanitation, nutrition and emergency medical services, cash assistance, basic services, and non-food items, such as mattresses and bedding, kitchen and hygiene sets, and clothes.
Mr. Nouicer noted that it was “highly unusual” for such plans to be revised so often, which reflected the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. “The magnitude of this humanitarian crisis is indisputable,” he said.
“This massive humanitarian crisis requires urgent support from governments, businesses and private individuals,” UNHCR’s Regional Coordinator for Syrian Refugees, Panos Moumtzis, told today’s press conference in Geneva.
“Unless these funds come quickly, we will not be able to fully respond to the life-saving needs of civilians who flee Syria every hour of the day – many in a truly desperate condition,” he added.