UN launches biggest humanitarian appeal, fearing deepening of Syrian crisis [EN/AR]

(Geneva, 16 December 2013): Faced with the prospect of a worsening humanitarian situation inside Syria, the continuing outflows of refugees projected for 2014 - and the impact on neighbouring countries - UN agencies on Monday appealed to donors for US$6.5 billion in funds – the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency.

The response plans were presented to donors today in Geneva on behalf of UN agencies and NGOs by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres. The two organizations they represent lead the multi-agency international humanitarian response underway inside Syria and in the surrounding region.

“As we look towards the fourth year of this appalling crisis, its brutal impact on millions of Syrians is testing the capacity of the international community to respond. With the help of the international community, the United Nations, Red Crescent and partner NGOs, we will continue to deliver vitally needed aid and seek protection for the ordinary women, men and children caught up in the midst of the conflict,” said Valerie Amos.

Monday’s appeal is based on projections of growing humanitarian needs and large-scale displacement both inside Syria and into neighbouring countries during 2014. Some $2.3 billion of the $6.5 billion total is for the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) for people inside Syria. The remaining $4.2 billion is for the Regional Response Plan 6 (RRP6), which helps Syrian refugees and communities in neighbouring countries. The 2014 appeals represent the support plans of more than 100 partner organizations – UN agencies, national and international NGOs – who are working together to address the needs of Syrians.

“We’re facing a terrifying situation here where, by the end of 2014, substantially more of the population of Syria could be displaced or in need of humanitarian help than not,” said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “This goes beyond anything we have seen in many, many years, and makes the need for a political solution all the much greater.” He added, “For now it remains of live-saving importance that the international humanitarian response is supported. Massive international solidarity is crucial, not only to support suffering Syrians, but also the countries that have so generously taken in refugees. The Syria crisis is having a dramatic impact on their economies, societies and even on their security.”

Over 2.3 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, in one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history. Support for the surrounding countries includes help for refugee-hosting communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, who provide Syrians with basic shelter, protection and other essential support.

USG Amos emphasized the importance of continuing to seek a political solution. “As humanitarian workers our focus must be on continuing to do everything we can to reach people with life-saving and life-sustaining aid. This includes urging all those who have influence over the parties who continue to fight.”

For further information about media opportunities, please contact:

· Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, laerke@un.org, +41 22 917 1142, Cell +41 79 472 9750
· Amanda Pitt, OCHA New York, pitta@un.org, +1 212 963 4129, Cell +1 917 442 1810
· Adrian Edwards, UNHCR Geneva, edwards@unhcr.org, +41 22 739 8741 Cell +41 79 557 9120

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.