30 August 2013 As tensions continue to ratchet up regarding the crisis in Syria, United Nations agencies today reiterated their commitment to continue providing emergency relief for Syrians inside the country, as well as for displaced persons, despite facing various security challenges.
In a briefing to reporters in Geneva, officials from the World Food Programme (WFP), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) all said they would continue to carry out their operations and deliver basic supplies and services to those affected by the conflict.
UNICEF spokesperson Patrick McCormick said that despite the rise in tension the agency and its partners were on the ground delivering essential services for children and their families, and would continue their efforts to meet existing and new needs.
Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UNHCR said that the agency had permanent contingency plans for large numbers of displaced people.
There are currently some 1,000 UN national and international staff inside Syria.
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.
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