Almost 70% of Syrians in need of humanitarian aid, UN official tells Security Council
Almost 70 percent of people in Syria are in need of humanitarian aid, a UN official told the Security Council on Tuesday.
Ghada Eltahir Mudawi, a deputy director for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), called for "greater solidarity and urgently increased humanitarian funding" as Syria deals with unprecedentedly widespread levels of suffering.
"For the first time in the history of the crisis, people across every sub-district in Syria are experiencing some degree of humanitarian stress," Mudawi said.
"More people are in need of aid in Syria than at any other time in the conflict. Yet, we are witnessing dangerously dwindling resources for the humanitarian response."
Some 12 million people in Syria are currently food insecure and a further 2.9 million are at risk of sliding into hunger, while recent data shows that stunting and maternal malnutrition rates are reaching levels never seen before, the UN representative said.
More than 500,000 people have died since 2011 after a brutal crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on peaceful protests set off a civil war that lasted 12 years.
Millions of Syrians have been displaced in the war, and more than 100,000 Syrians are missing. The conflict has also destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and decimated the Syrian economy.
The humanitarian situation in the country was made worse by the 6 February earthquakes, with hundreds of thousands more displaced and without access to basic services and employment.
Mudawi welcomed the opening of some of Syria’s border crossings to allow in aid in the aftermath of the earthquakes, saying it allowed the UN and partners to "rapidly scale up the cross-border response".
She said it was vital that the Security Council vote to extend by a year the opening up of the Turkey-Syria border to allow aid into northwest Syria, where millions of displaced people live.
Ahead of a major aid conference taking place later this month, Mudawi said that a UN appeal for $5.4 billion to help more than 14 million people in Syria is less than 10 percent funded.