The United Nations and its partners increased their humanitarian appeal for Syria from $180 million to $347 million, due to the doubling of the number of people in need since July, to 2.5 million.
The revised Syria Humanitarian Response Plan focuses on the priority areas of health, food, livelihoods, infrastructure rehabilitation, community services, education and shelter, in Homs, Hama, Idlib, Damascus, rural Damascus, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo, as well as areas hosting large numbers of internally displaced people.
It was launched at the Syria Humanitarian Forum in Geneva which brought together over 350 participants from Member States, regional organizations, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN humanitarian agencies to mobilize the necessary resources to provide assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the conflict.
“At the moment, the entire civilian population inside Syria is gripped by fear and despair,” John Ging, the Director of the Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told reporters after the Forum. “The basis for that fear is very real.”
UN officials have been calling for enhanced international support to respond to the growing crisis, which has been escalating in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo. More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago.
OCHA estimates that over 1.2 million people are internally displaced, more than half of whom are children forced from their homes. There are also more than 245,000 Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, with more than 100,000 people registered as refugees in August alone.
“This begins to give you a sense of the scale of the tragedy that is unfolding, and the fact that it’s escalating, rather than dissipating,” said Ging, who chaired the Forum.
“It also presents for us on the humanitarian side an enormous challenge,” he added. “Humanitarian action is not a solution in conflict. The solution in conflict is political resolution that ends the conflict and takes the issues into a political process.
“But while there is failure to find that process even to bring about a political resolution to this conflict and end to the violence, we in the humanitarian community have to step up and do more in evermore dangerous circumstances to help people who are suffering more.”