Syria conference: “This humanitarian emergency is not over”

Brussels, 14 March 2018 – The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has told a major international conference that although fighting in Syria has decreased over the past 12 months, humanitarian needs continue to grow.

Speaking at the third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said:

“This humanitarian emergency is not over. Even though the overall level of fighting has reduced, new needs are emerging. In fact, improved access in some areas is actually increasing demand for Red Crescent services and support.”

Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams are finding that in many newly accessible areas, years of war and neglect have left people without access to even basic services. In these places, Red Crescent volunteers are often faced with the task of restoring basic services such as water, food, basic health services, and psychosocial support.

“These services are critical to promoting peace and helping, eventually, to return a sense of normality. Of course, the opposite is also true: if these basic needs are not met, then the consequences for Syria’s future may be felt for generations,” said Mr Rocca.

Mr Rocca spoke also of the role played by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in countries neighbouring Syria that are now home to millions of refugees. He urged donors to continue their support for operations in these countries. He spoke also of the role the Red Crescent is playing in al-Hol, a camp that is now home to around 60,000 people, including the families of foreign fighters.

“Red Crescent volunteers are in the field providing support to everyone they can. In al-Hol camp they are working alongside other humanitarian actors to meet the needs of people, mostly women and children, many of them foreigners. We call on all concerned parties to agree to an organized and systematic approach to addressing and resolving the dire situation unfolding in al-Hol,” said Mr Rocca.

Media contacts

In Brussels: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, tommaso.dellalonga@ifrc.org

In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, +961 71 802 779, rana.cassou@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 8039, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org