The humanitarian response to the Syrian conflict

The international community has an obligation to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed 

Author: Christian Aid (UK), International Rescue Committee (USA), Islamic Relief (UK), Norwegian Refugee Council (Norway), People in Need (Czech Republic), Refugees International (USA), Save the Children (UK), World Vision (UK)
Country: Syria
Category: Conflict Transformation

The humanitarian crisis in Syria is reaching appalling dimensions. Over 4 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including at least 2 million people who are internally displaced. Prices for flour and diesel are rising. Increasing numbers of people are unable to buy food. The fighting has destroyed homes leaving people forced to sleep in the streets, in mosques and schools. Medical care is inadequate. While current needs are acute, they are set to escalate dramatically as winter intensifies and the emergency threatens to be prolonged. Beyond Syria’s borders, in addition to the 600,000 registered refugees, UNHCR estimates 200,000 Syrians have fled but remain unregistered and uncounted in Syria’s neighbouring countries, and the refugee flow continues to increase every day.

The response to this crisis remains dramatically insufficient. Extensive food aid distribution and shelter are urgently needed, as well as medical responses, protection and education. The basic humanitarian needs of millions of civilians are not being met. There are several dimensions to this. Inside Syria, effective access for humanitarian aid is severely restricted and security is acutely fragile, making it extremely challenging and difficult to deliver aid. There is limited humanitarian capacity and expertise in both government-held and opposition-held areas. The conflict’s frontlines are constantly shifting. Significant numbers of civilians in areas of active combat currently do not have any support. The humanitarian response in refugee-hosting countries is also far from adequate, hampered by a lack of funds and effective coordination.

According to humanitarian principles and under International Humanitarian Law, the international
community has an obligation to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed. It is vital that
bilateral governments, multilateral donors, the UN funds and programmes and NGOs each play their part to alleviate the suffering of Syria’s beleaguered people.

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