Syria humanitarian needs 'enormous': UN

from Agence France-Presse
Published on 21 Jan 2013

01/21/2013 20:11 GMT

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 21, 2013 (AFP) - A UN mission assessing the "enormous" humanitarian needs in war-torn Syria found people -- especially children -- in dire need of food, medical care and clean water, an official said Monday.

Martin Nesirky, spokesman for United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said a team from seven humanitarian agencies visited the city of Homs and on Monday morning crossed conflict lines into Talbiseh.

Headed by John Ging, director of operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the delegation "met people in dire need of food, healthcare and clean water... particularly children," Nesirky said.

"Mr Ging emphasized that the humanitarian needs are enormous and that we must find ways to immediately increase the scale of operations," he added.

About four million Syrians, two million of them driven from their homes by the fighting, are in urgent need of aid, the UN says.

More than 60,000 people have perished in the Syrian conflict that erupted in March 2011 after troops brutally repressed a popular uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to UN figures.

Nesirky also said Ban had met with Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in New York on Monday and that the two men were expected to speak with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi via conference call later in the day.

Arabi said Monday that Brahimi's mission had not brought a "glimmer of hope" in ending the bloodshed, and urged UN action to enforce a ceasefire.

"All contacts (with the warring sides and international actors) made by Brahimi have thus far not yielded a glimmer of hope to end this crisis," Arabi told leaders meeting for an Arab League economic summit in Riyadh.

Brahimi is expected to brief the UN Security Council on his mission on January 29.


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