Syria: UN humanitarian agencies reiterate call for access to 1.2 million stranded in Damascus

Tanker trucks supply water to a housing complex in Adra, an industrial area northeast of Damascus, Syria. Photo: OCHA/Ben Parker

12 June 2013 – With United Nations-led convoys standing by to deliver urgent relief items, UN humanitarian agencies in Syria today reiterated their calls for immediate access to an estimated 1.2 million people in hard-to-reach areas of rural Damascus and elsewhere throughout the country.

In a news release, the agencies said that they are “concerned about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Rural Damascus where several locations are increasingly difficult to access.”

In particular, the UN agencies are trying to reach a civilian population stranded in the area of Muadhamiya in the capital city, where an estimated 5,000 families are believed to be holed up by the ongoing hostilities.

The families are subject to “immense suffering” and have not received sufficient assistance for many months, the agencies said.

Since March 2013, UN humanitarian agencies have submitted three official requests to the Syrian Government to allow access.

The UN-led convoys carrying most needed relief items have been rescheduled seven times since then, awaiting official clearance, the Damascus-based agencies said.

“This situation does not reflect the repeated pledges by the authorities to allow humanitarian actors to access all areas in Syria where there is need to deliver humanitarian assistance,” the UN humanitarian community said in a news release.

Last week, the UN launched a $4.4 billion humanitarian appeal – the largest aid request in the Organization's history – to assist the growing number of people suffering the effects of the crisis in Syria.

The appeal, revised from $1.5 billion in January, covers relief activities for the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) and the Regional Response Plan (RRP).

Of the $4.4 billion, $1.4 billion will go to SHARP, assisting Syrians inside Syria, and $3 billion to RRP, which provides life-saving aid and protection to refugees in the immediate surrounding region. So far, $1.2 billion have been received.

In addition to this, the Governments of Lebanon and Jordan are seeking $450 million and $380 million, respectively, to support the efforts to provide education, health and other services to the refugees who are now in their countries.


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