UN responds to urgent needs in Syria’s Idleb province
(Amman/Damascus, 17 February 2013): A UN inter-agency mission yesterday delivered a first batch of critical and lifesaving relief items to 6,000 internally displaced persons in Karameh in Syria’s north-western Idleb Province. Nearly 50,000 internally displaced persons are estimated to be living in Atmeh, Bab Al-Hawa, Qah, Karameh and Taybet AlHouda in makeshift shelters under harsh winter conditions. This latest delivery of mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, children’s clothes, food and primary school kits, is in addition to earlier convoys sent by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the area. More inter-agency missions and convoys are planned to take place shortly to cover the needs of some 25,000 persons. The inter-agency mission included staff from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UNHCR.
“This joint relief convoy, involving eight UN agencies, demonstrates that outreach is possible from inside Syria,” said Radhouane Nouicer, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria. “It encourages us to continue, to increase our efforts to reach more people in need across the country.”
Separately, the UN also delivered a significant quantity of medical supplies to Aleppo and much-needed winter items and hygiene kits to Hama, where recent fighting resulted in large-scale displacement in rural areas.
Insecurity continues to be the main obstacle hampering humanitarian operations in Syria, where some four million people, including at least two million internally displaced persons, are in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN is committed to delivering humanitarian aid to all those in need, regardless of their location. It is planning to increase its field presence through opening hubs across the country. “We need to get closer to the people in need - that’s what we are here for,” urged the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator.
The UN is scaling up the provision of humanitarian assistance to respond to the ever growing needs in Syria. Monthly food assistance will gradually be increased from a target of 1.5 million people in January to 2.5 million by April 2013. Since January 2013, UN agencies and partners have also stepped up the provision of essential relief items to more than 150,000 persons to help them get through the cold winter; in addition, the UN reached 470,000 people with relief items in 2012. Furthermore, the UN has been expanding its interventions in the areas of health, shelter, water and sanitation, psycho-social support and education.
“I hope Governments will soon deliver the funds generously pledged in Kuwait last January, so we can all do more to alleviate the tremendous suffering of the Syrian people,” said Mr. Nouicer.