There are currently over one million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, as well as over 30,000 Palestinian refugees that have also fled Syria, mainly into Lebanon. The sheer scale of the crisis has far outstripped the needs predicted in the UN’s Regional Response Plan.
The governments of refugee hosting countries are facing serious political, and economic challenges in supporting refugees and in keeping their borders open. The international community must support this commitment through adequate, rapidly disbursed humanitarian funding and other concrete support as the crisis in Syria escalates.
With thousands of new refugees arriving in host countries every day there is an urgent need to find new, sustainable shelter solutions. Lack of shelter as well as rising food prices, a lack of adequate health services, and other aid gaps have exposed the humanitarian community’s lack of preparedness. There is a need for realistic contingency planning and preparation in each of the refugee hosting countries.
Inside Syria, there has been mounting pressure on humanitarian organizations to channel aid in ways which reinforce political objectives. It is unacceptable for any party to seek to manipulate aid in order to reinforce their own legitimacy. Humanitarian assistance must be delivered according to need, and in a neutral, impartial and independent manner. Donor governments must refrain from channeling aid in the interest of a political agenda.