Syria: UN leaders renew plea

23 April, 2014
December 2013, Damascus, Syria: Fatema feeds her 18 month old daughter, Haneen. Fatema's family was displaced from their home in Douma in rural Damascus. The UN estimates that 9.3 million people have been affected by the conflict that has now entered its fourth year. Credit: WFP/Abeer Etefa
December 2013, Damascus, Syria: Fatema feeds her 18 month old daughter, Haneen. Fatema's family was displaced from their home in Douma in rural Damascus. The UN estimates that 9.3 million people have been affected by the conflict that has now entered its fourth year. Credit: WFP/Abeer Etefa

The leaders of five UN agencies have renewed their plea on behalf of millions of people caught in the chaos and violence of Syria’s bloody civil war.

“One year ago… we issued an urgent appeal. Enough, we said, enough!

“That appeal has gone largely unanswered. The war escalates in many areas. The humanitarian situation deteriorates day after day.”

This new appeal was issued today by UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos, along with the heads of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These same five aid chiefs joined their voices in a statement published in the New York Times in April 2013.

Humanitarian access denied by all sides

“All too often, humanitarian access to those in need is being denied by all sides. Aerial bombardment, rockets, mortars and other indiscriminate attacks slaughter innocent men, women and children.”

The UN aid chiefs have called on parties to the conflict to:
Enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need, using all available routes either across lines inside Syria or across its borders.

Lift the sieges on civilians currently being imposed by all sides, such as those now sealing off parts of Aleppo, the Old City of Homs, Yarmouk, East Ghouta, Moadhamieh, Nubl and Zahra.

End the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians by the Government and opposition groups and stop all other violations of international humanitarian law.

The UN officials highlight recent escalations in the conflict, documenting the terrible humanitarian consequences.

“As the fighting has intensified in recent weeks, at least one million people are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Aleppo alone. The road from Damascus to Aleppo has often been cut. [An estimated] 1.25 million people are in need of food in Aleppo city and rural parts of the governorate.”

More than 9.3 million people affected

The statement highlights the terrible impact of the conflict on vital infrastructure across the country. A third of Syria’s water treatment plants no longer function. Three out of five health centres have been destroyed.

“Across Syria, the lives of more than 9.3 million people are now affected in this, the fourth year of the conflict,” the statement says.

Read the statement>>

Watch the plea made 12 months ago>>

OCHA in Syria>>

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