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UN Humanitarian Chief calls for continued assistance and a political solution for Syria

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(Ankara, 20 October 2014) At the conclusion of a two-day visit to Turkey, UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos today reminded the international community of the gravity of Syria’s humanitarian crisis and said that additional support is needed ahead of the long winter months for people who have been displaced by fighting, and for the countries supporting them.

900,000 Syrian refugees are registered in Turkey and the actual number is estimated at 1.6 million. “Nearly 200,000 civilians fled Ayn Al-Arab into Turkey in a matter of weeks and the Turkish authorities responded immediately,” said USG Amos while thanking the Government and people of Turkey for their generosity in welcoming Syrians seeking safety in the country.

Almost ten million people have been displaced internally or have left Syria altogether. “Over three million have fled and are seeking shelter in neighbouring countries – 1.1 million are registered in Lebanon where one third of the population is made up of Syrian refugees. 619,000 are registered in Jordan but the actual number is much higher,” she said.

Recalling her visit to Yibo transit camp in Suruç, where 5,000 people are currently seeking shelter, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said families have been left terrified by what has happened to them. “I met a woman who had fled Homs to Kobane and had to flee again to Suruç. She was in tears, desperate about the future of her children.”

Ms. Amos said that the UN and its partners will continue to do all it can to help those in need but stressed that there is a limit to what the humanitarian community can do. “We can save lives. Help to clothe, house and feed people. Provide education to children. But we cannot deliver the safety and security that people crave,” said Ms. Amos. “We urgently need a political solution in Syria. The world must remember the suffering of the Syrian people and act,” she added.

During her visit Valerie Amos met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Numan Kurtulmuş, Ambassador Basat Öztürk from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, donors and representatives from the UN Agencies and international and national NGOs.

For further information, please call:
Josephine Guerrero, OCHA Damascus, guerreroj@un.org, Cell: +963 968 888 389
Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, laerke@un.org, Cell: +41 79 472 9750
Amanda Pitt, OCHA New York, pitta@un.org, Cell: +1 917 442 1810
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.car.humanitarianresponse.info or www.reliefweb.int

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