Funding inadequate to meet increased needs for Syria
(New York, 14 November 2012) Some four million people inside Syria are likely to need humanitarian aid by early 2013 if current trends continue, according to the latest Humanitarian Bulletin released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday.
The figure includes almost two million children and adolescents, many of whom are suffering psychological trauma as a result of witnessing violence and being forced from their homes. The number of refugees sheltering outside Syria’s borders is also expected to increase to a total of more than 700,000 by early next year.
“The situation is catastrophic already,” OCHA Operations Director John Ging said at the Syria Humanitarian Forum in Geneva on 9 November. “That is a disaster which has to be understood by everybody, not as an abstract worst-case scenario prediction, but actually as the reality that is unfolding in front of us every single day.”
Recent missions by OCHA and humanitarian partners to Dera’a, Ar-Raqqa and Homs found that humanitarian needs far exceeded previous estimates. Many of those who have been forced from their homes are living in extremely poor conditions, in tents on farmland or in public buildings that are not adapted for residential use. As winter approaches, they urgently need better shelter, warm clothes, heaters and blankets. But funding for the crisis is falling short, at just 51 per cent of what is needed inside Syria and 35 per cent of resources required for refugees in neighbouring countries.
Help is getting through, but it is not enough. The World Food Programme dispatched food aid to 1.5 million Syrians during October while the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered aid to cover the needs of almost 150,000 people. More than 23,000 children are enrolled in school clubs supported by the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
The World Health Organization supported nearly 100,000 people with medicines, surgical supplies and essential medical services in October.
Regional Humanitarian Coordinator Radhouane Nouicer said at the Syria Humanitarian Forum on 9 November that ordinary Syrians were paying the price for the conflict in three ways: through displacement both inside and outside Syria, through the loss of lives on a daily basis, and through the collapse of the Syrian economy.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.