Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos: Security Council Briefing on Syria, Thursday, 18 April 2013, UN Headquarters, New York

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from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 18 Apr 2013

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Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos

Security Council Briefing on Syria
Thursday, 18 April 2013
UN Headquarters, New York

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Mr President,

The situation in Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe with ordinary people paying the price for the failure to end the conflict. The parties to the conflict have become increasingly entrenched in the rhetoric and reality of war with a total disregard for the impact on people’s lives. And this body has been unable to reach the consensus necessary to support a political solution to the crisis.

The destruction of essential infrastructure including schools and hospitals, devaluation of the currency, rising food prices, shortage of fuel and electricity and lack of water has had an impact on the majority of Syrians.

The needs are growing rapidly and are most severe in the conflict and opposition- controlled areas. The latest figures show 6.8 million people in need, 4.25 million people internally displaced and an additional 1.3 million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The economic collapse has led to a consequential collapse in people’s coping mechanisms. At a time when needs are growing dramatically, so too are the constraints inhibiting our ability to scale up the humanitarian response. So the question facing all of us around this table is, ‘when is not enough too little, and when does continuing to do too little become part of the problem?’

Syria’s main cities have been devastated by the conflict. Deir Az Zor, Hama, Homs and Idlib have been reduced to rubble. A United Nations inter-agency convoy that crossed the front lines in Aleppo last week witnessed the extraordinary destruction in the city. Large parts do not have running water because there is no electricity. Waste is piling up, raising fears that diseases will multiply as the summer heat approaches. And there are growing concerns about outbreaks of diarrhoea and potentially even cholera if the most basic of services cannot be urgently restored.

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