"The world must do more" - Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos in Syria [EN/AR]
(Damascus/New York, 12 January 2014) Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos highlighted the dire humanitarian situation affecting 9.3 million Syrians at the end of a visit to Damascus today. Ms. Amos held talks with members of the government and humanitarian partners about the plight of people in communities which have been blocked by Government or opposition forces and who have not been reached with aid for months. “I am particularly worried about the reports of starvation,” she said. She also discussed plans to scale up aid operations in 2014 to get more help to the people who need it most.
Speaking ahead of the High-Level Pledging Conference on 15 January in Kuwait, the UN Humanitarian Chief called for the international community to do more to help those who have been forced from their homes by the violence and are living in desperate conditions.
“The world must do more for all the people who are displaced,” said ERC Amos “Many families are living in abandoned buildings, schools or in makeshift shelters, without enough food, clean water or medicine. We must help them to get through this very cold winter.” She was speaking after visiting a shelter run by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Jaramana in Rural Damascus.
"The people I met today have lost family and friends, their homes and jobs,” said Ms. Amos. “But they were glad to be safe inside the shelter, with enough food and water for their families. Many people are in even worse conditions, and all are battling with deteriorating health and worries about their children’s futures.”
Ms. Amos also met Palestine refugees at an UNRWA school which is now home to displaced families. More than 80 per cent of Palestine refugees inside Syria need humanitarian aid.
ERC Amos also held talks with the government about protection of civilians. “I emphasized the need to build on steps to reduce the impact of violence on civilians, like the recent ceasefires which allowed evacuations from the Old City of Homs and from Adra Umaliyeh in Rural Damascus. I recognized the steps taken to approve visas, which will enable us to increase capacity on the ground. But we need to do more in a crisis of this magnitude,” she said.
Ms. Amos thanked UN agencies, international and national NGOs and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer and praised their continued commitment to delivering aid in very difficult and dangerous conditions.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.