(Geneva, 7 June 2013)
Millions of ordinary men, women and children are bearing the brunt of the brutal conflict in Syria, said Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos and High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, as they appealed today for an additional US$3.1 billion to meet growing humanitarian needs in Syria and among refugees in the surrounding region this year. The total requirements for the whole of 2013 are $4.4 billion.
In addition to this, the Governments of Lebanon and Jordan are seeking $830 million to support the efforts to provide education, health and other services to the refugees who are now in their countries.
The United Nations estimates that 6.8 million people in Syria need urgent humanitarian assistance, 4.25 million of them are internally displaced from their homes and nearly half of them are children. At least 1.6 million Syrian refugees are now hosted across several neighbouring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.
“After more than two years of brutal conflict, almost a third of Syrians need urgent humanitarian help and protection, but the needs are growing more quickly than we can meet them,” said ERC Valerie Amos. “Today we launched the biggest humanitarian appeal ever and we are asking our donors to continue to give generously.”
“Syria as a civilization is unraveling with as many as half of its citizens in need of urgent help as a result of this savage conflict," said High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres. "The funds we are appealing for are a matter of survival for suffering Syrians and they are essential for the neighbouring countries hosting refugees.”
In December 2012, $1.5 billion was requested to help four million people inside Syria and 1.1 million refugees until the middle of 2013. UNHCR now estimates that there could be as many as 3.65 million Syrian refugees by the end of the year.
In the last few months the UN, Red Crescent and other international and local humanitarian organizations in Syria have fed up to 2.4 million people per month, vaccinated more than one million children against measles and polio, made drinking water safe for over 9 million people and provided nearly 920,000 people with basic relief items. But this is not enough.
Humanitarian organizations now aim to scale up operations and feed four million Syrians and 420,000 Palestinian refugees; immunize 1.7 million children; provide nearly seven million people with health care and ten million with safe drinking water. In particular, finding ways to deliver aid to the 2.9 million people living across conflict lines is a top priority.
Today’s new regional response plan (RRP) covers only life-saving assistance and protection for refugees – further underlining the scale of the crisis. Participating humanitarian agencies are aiming to assist the most vulnerable, including members of refugee hosting communities, with critical programmes, including food, shelter and cash assistance.
Governments in the region are also feeling the strain, with public services stretched to their limits. The generosity of host countries has come at a heavy price. The Syrian conflict is posing a threat to the entire region with dramatic implications on regional security. There are rising tensions between refugees and host communities and cross-border incidents are becoming increasingly common.
The appeal combines two revised response plans: US$1.4 billion for humanitarian operations inside Syria and close to US$3 billion to help the refugee populations in the region. In addition the Governments of Lebanon and Jordan seek $449 million and $380 million respectively to help close to half a million refugees in each country.
For further information, please contact:
Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, + 41 79 472 9750,
Amanda Pitt, OCHA New York, +1 917 442 1810
Melissa Fleming, UNHCR Geneva, + 41 79 557 9122
Adrian Edwards, UNHCR Geneva, + 41 79 557 9120
Dan McNorton, UNHCR Geneva, + 41 79 217 3011