Despite violence and limited access, UN agencies continue aid delivery in Syria

Delivering food to people like these kids in Syria is getting harder and more dangerous every day. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefa

19 July 2013 – While violence continues unabated in many parts of Syria, United Nations agencies are working to deliver humanitarian assistance, in spite of difficult security conditions and restricted access to various areas, a spokesperson for the world body said today.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), violence in the eastern governorates as well as in rural Damascus and Dera’a is limiting access for humanitarian aid, and many areas where assistance is urgently needed remain inaccessible.

“The Office also says that overall insecurity and a proliferation of checkpoints are slowing down movement of humanitarian goods, and bureaucratic processes continue to delay aid delivery and impede the efficiency of the emergency response,” UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York.

“Nonetheless, humanitarian organizations continue to increase their assistance.”

Mr. Nesirky said the World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to increase its distributions to reach 3 million people, up from the current 2.5 million, by late 2013.

In addition, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has reached more than 58,000 people with food assistance and 59,000 people with cash assistance in the past two weeks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also continued its work inside the country, supporting the ministry of health in Damascus with essential and communicable disease medicines to treat more than 90,000 people.

Since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian Government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad as many as 100,000 people have been killed, almost 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced. In addition, at least 6.8 million Syrian require urgent humanitarian assistance, half of whom are children.

Earlier this week, senior UN humanitarian and human rights officials warned that the worsening situation in the country has led to an unprecedented need for assistance that is not sustainable, and urged a swift political solution to put an end to the conflict.


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