UN launches appeal for life-saving aid to millions of Syrians, support to host communities

Syrian Kurdish refugees cross into Turkey from Syria near the town of Kobani. Photo: UNHCR/I. Prickett

18 December 2014 – As Syria's war rages on into its fifth year, the needs for food, shelter and medicine are astronomical, several United Nations agencies said today as they launched a major appeal, requesting over $8.4 billion to help nearly 18 million people in Syria and throughout the region.

Presented to donors at a meeting in Berlin, the 2015 appeal incorporates, for the first time, development aspects in addition to the life-saving humanitarian needs of over 12 million displaced people inside Syria, and the millions of Syrian refugees scattered throughout the region and the countries that host them.

“This plan, if fully funded, can help us provide food and medicine for children, shelter families from the cold, and support those who are desperate and traumatized. Syria is a very difficult and dangerous place to work but the humanitarian community remains committed to helping the most vulnerable people caught in this crisis,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA).

The Syria Strategic Response Plan 2015 (SRP) which requires $2.9 billion in funding to address acute humanitarian needs inside Syria, aims to provide 12.2 million people with protection, life-saving assistance and livelihood support.

Meanwhile, the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) represents a strategic shift in the approach to delivering aid for the region. It brings together emergency humanitarian operations and host community support with longer-term programmes aimed at boosting resilience.

Requiring $5.5 billion in funding to directly support almost 6 million people, it is based on planning projections of up to 4.27 million refugees in countries neighbouring Syria by the end of 2015 and help to over a million vulnerable people in host communities.

“Refugees and internally displaced people have exhausted their savings and resources, and host countries are at breaking point,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

The refugee component of the 3RP includes food aid, shelter, relief items and cash to meet basic household needs as well as registration services. The resilience component is about helping more than a million vulnerable people in communities who will benefit from assistance programmes and an enhanced focus on livelihoods and the creation of economic opportunities.

An additional 20.6 million people in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt will benefit from upgrades to local infrastructure and services in areas such as health, education, water and sewage.

"The countries hosting Syrian refugees are struggling with the massive impact on their economies, societies, and infrastructure threatening not only their stability but the stability of the entire region," said Gina Casar, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator.

"A traditional humanitarian response is no longer enough,” she added.

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