UN: Syria appeal largely unanswered
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
GENEVA - An urgent appeal on behalf of millions of Syrian people has gone largely unanswered, according to a joint statement by heads of UN humanitarian agencies in the country.
"The war escalates in many areas. The humanitarian situation deteriorates day after day. And for the civilians remaining in the cities of Aleppo and the Old City of Homs, as well as other parts of the country experiencing heavy fighting, the worst days seem yet to come," the UN warned in a statement on Wednesday.
The UN announced its biggest-ever appeal last December for the coming year, seeking US$6.5bn in humanitarian aid for an estimated 17 million Syrians.
As the fighting has intensified in recent weeks, at least one million people are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Aleppo alone.
The road from Damascus to Aleppo - a vital lifeline – has often been cut.
About 1.25 million people are in need of food in Aleppo city and rural parts of the governorate and key roads are blocked by different armed forces and groups, the UN said.
- 'Sheer courage'
There are reportedly now only 40 doctors for a population of 2.5 million people in Aleppo - where there had once been more than 2,000 - and medical supplies are scarce. The city is surrounded on all sides.
Across Syria, the lives of more than 9.3 million people are affected in the fourth year of conflict, the UN said.
With a third of the nation's water treatment plants no longer functioning and 60 per cent of health centers destroyed, there are about 3.5 million people living in areas under siege or unable to be reached with humanitarian assistance. Innocent civilians of Syria appear to be surviving on sheer courage, the statement read.
The UN has called upon all parties in the brutal conflict to take urgent action to enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need, using all available routes either across lines inside Syria or across its borders, lift the sieges on civilians currently being imposed by all sides, end the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians by the government and opposition groups, and stop all other violations of international humanitarian law.
"Thus far, diplomatic efforts designed to end years of suffering have failed. What have not failed are the courage and determination of extraordinary Syrian civilians to survive," the UN said.
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