Photo: UNHCR Syria
Today, the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) are carrying out their largest ever humanitarian convoy to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to more than 40,000 displaced people at the remote Rukban ‘makeshift’ settlement in south-eastern Syria, on the border with Jordan. The operation is expected to last approximately one week.
The joint UN and SARC inter-agency convoy consists of 118 trucks with humanitarian assistance and will deliver food, health and nutritional supplies, core relief items, water sanitation and hygiene materials, education items and children’s recreational kits to people at the site, the vast majority of whom are vulnerable women and children. Vaccines for some 10,000 children under five-years-of-age will also be part of the convoy as a well as needs assessments will be carried out.
“This large-scale delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to the extremely vulnerable in Rukban could not have happened a moment too soon", said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Mr. Sajjad Malik. "The humanitarian situation there has been deteriorating due to harsh winter conditions and the lack of access to basic assistance and services. There have been reports of at least eight young children’s deaths in recent weeks. (But) while this delivery of assistance will provide much-needed support to people at Rukban, it is only a temporary measure".
Harsh winter conditions and lack of access to basic services have taken a toll on thousands of civilians strained in Rubkan. Credit: HC-RC Office/Fadwa Baroud
A long-term, safe, voluntary and dignified solution for tens of thousands of people, many of whom have been staying at the Rukban settlement for more than two years in desperate conditions, is urgently needed. To this end, the UN and SARC teams will conduct close monitoring during and post-distributions to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in need,
The humanitarian supplies that will be provided during this convoy, were identified based on the findings of the needs assessment completed during the previous convoy in November 2018. The delivery and distribution of relief supplies is based on the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.
The UN continues to urge all parties to allow safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need in Syria line with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.