About 13.4 million Syrians in desperate need of assistance – UN


The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the UN Secretariat on Saturday said some 13.4 million people throughout Syria are in need of assistance.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths stressed “the UN needs to be able to reach people who depend on its aid both from Turkey and from within Syria”.

“Humanitarians and donors must keep Syria high on our collective agenda to prevent an entire generation being lost,” he said.

Griffiths has just concluded his seven-day visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, his first official mission in the region since he assumed his functions.

During meetings with the Syrian Foreign Minister and his deputy, Mr. Griffiths emphasised the need to expand humanitarian access, protect civilians and help Syrians envision a future for themselves.

His visit coincided with the first humanitarian cross-line operation into north-west Syria since 2017, which he welcomed as an important step to reaching more people in need with critical assistance.

Travelling to Damascus via the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), Mr. Griffiths held constructive meetings with senior government officials and the humanitarian community, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Red Crescent Societies, among others.

And in Beirut, he spoke with donors and discussed with the Deputy Prime Minister and Humanitarian Country Team, the country’s fast-growing needs, including a severe fuel crisis that jeopardizes health care and safe drinking water.

During his visit, the humanitarian chief announced a US$4 million allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support an increased supply of fuel for the continued operation of essential services.

Meanwhile, the UN and its partners have developed the 2021-2022 Emergency Response Plan for Lebanon to provide life-saving humanitarian support to 1.1 million of the most vulnerable Lebanese people and migrants affected by the ongoing crisis.

The US$378.5 million humanitarian plan complements the UN’s programmes for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, which also includes Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them.

On the last leg of his trip, Mr. Griffiths travelled to Turkey where he met with the Presidential Spokesperson, Deputy Foreign Minister and others.

In the province of Hatay, on the Turkey-Syria border, he visited a humanitarian trans-shipment hub to observe UN cross-border operations into Syria, where each month the Organization dispatches 1,000 trucks of food, medicine and other life-saving aid to millions in desperate need, cut off by hostilities.

So far, the UN and its partners have received only 27% of the funding needed for its 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, which seeks US$4.2 billion.

And the US$5.8 billion Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan aims to help over 5.5 million Syrian refugees and host communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey is only 19% funded. (Source: UN News)