|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7273rd Meeting (AM)
Humanitarian Aid Reaching Millions in Syria, But Unabated Fighting Continues
to Thwart Delivery, Under-Secretary-General Tells Security Council
Lifesaving aid continued to reach millions in Syria, but funding was running low and intense, multiparty fighting continued to imperil delivery, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council this morning.
“The parties to the conflict continue to put obstacles in the way of the sustained access that humanitarian organizations require,” Valerie Amos said, introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on humanitarian access in Syria (document S/2014/696) that covers the period 19 August to 17 September. The report is the second to follow up on the 14 July adoption of resolution 2165 (2014) authorizing aid delivery across borders and conflict lines in the embattled country.
“Most critical of all, the violence that has already killed over 190,000 people must stop,” Ms. Amos said, describing the death and displacement caused by the onslaught of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS), aerial attacks by the Government, including continued use of barrel bombs, and extensive shelling of civilian areas by opposition groups. Aid workers continued to die as well, she stated, honouring the sixty-third humanitarian worker to be killed in the conflict, David Haines.
Despite the dangers, she said, last month the World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners reached 4.1 million people and 16.5 million were provided access to clean water by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners. Over 400,000 received other core relief items.
Cross-border operations authorized by resolution 2165 (2014), supported by Turkey and Jordan, had helped deliver food for 144,500 people, health support for 151,000 and other basic assistance for 315,000, she said, adding that the opening today of the Nusaybin/Qamishly crossing would allow transfer of assistance for another 225,000.
An integrated plan covering food, health, shelter, and water and sanitation needs had been developed for the governorates of Dara’a, Quneitra, Aleppo and Idlib. “We continue to seek to reach the maximum number of people by the most direct and effective routes”, she said, “across conflict lines, cross-border or through regular aid deliveries. Sustained pressure on all parties to ensure that they respect and implement resolution 2165 is crucial.”
Also critical was continued donor funding, she said, warning that without additional funds, the WFP would be forced to end its operations completely within two months. Rations had already been cut and winter was fast approaching. Neighbouring countries also needed urgent support so that they could continue to shelter millions of refugees who had left Syria, a population that was still rapidly increasing, many now fleeing the horrors of ISIL.
The humanitarian situation of civilians who had not been able to leave Syria remained “devastating”, she said. The entire country was affected by the degradation of infrastructure and basic services, with 11 million people requiring urgent assistance, including 6.4 million displaced. Access to some 4.7 million who had been hard to reach for long periods continued to be challenging. A further 241,000 people were besieged and deliberately denied assistance mostly by the Government, but also by opposition groups.
“Each month that passes sees more people denied their basic human rights,” she said, reiterating the urgent need for the fighting to stop.
The meeting began at 10 a.m. and ended 10:15 a.m.
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