Countries bordering Syria need more help as refugee numbers rise says UN Humanitarian chief, after visits to Jordan and Lebanon

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 28 Nov 2012

(Beirut/New York, 28 November 2012): At the end of a three-day visit to Jordan and Lebanon, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, called on the international community to tackle the consequences of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, and support surrounding countries in their efforts to deal with a worsening refugee crisis.

During her visit to Jordan, Valerie Amos went to the border with Syria and saw refugees who had arrived under cover of darkness and were deeply traumatized by their experiences. “Some people were injured, having faced mortar fire along their escape route,” said USG Amos.

In Amman, Ms. Amos held meetings with His Majesty, King Abdullah II, the Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Abdallah Ensour, senior Government officials, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Praising the generosity of the people of Jordan for hosting some 240,000 Syrians, and the work of the national and international relief agencies, Ms. Amos also underscored that the United Nations will support the Government in reinforcing preparedness efforts to deal with any dramatic deterioration of the situation inside Syria.

In Lebanon, USG Amos met Syrian families at a refugee reception centre in Beirut. The stories were heart-breaking, she said. “One woman I met had watched her mother burned in her home. It is time for this brutality to stop.”

She also met Prime Minister Mr. Najib Mikati and Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Wael Abu Faour and thanked them for the support the Lebanese people and Government are providing to more than 130,000 refugees from Syria, and for keeping the borders open. “We need to support the Lebanese authorities – and the people hosting refugees.” Ms. Amos said following the meeting.

The plight of the refugees, and the possibility that thousands more will follow them, underlines the need for a comprehensive, region-wide response to end the crisis. We need to redouble our efforts to support neighbouring states in absorbing the costs of addressing the daily needs of a large refugee population.

“The international community needs to shoulder its responsibility and work together to bring an end to the violence in Syria,” said Ms. Amos. “Until the international community finds a lasting political solution to the Syria crisis, neighbouring states are being expected to absorb the bulk of the cost of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees. Given their own economic, social and security challenges, this is simply not sustainable,” noted USG Amos. “As winter sets in across Syria, the most vulnerable people will move to places where assistance can be provided and where they feel safe.”

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