Greater access, more funds urgently needed for Syrians: UN official

Greater access, more funds urgently needed for Syrians: UN official
# 19 January 2013 01:36 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Valerie Amos, the UN under- secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, on Friday said greater access within Syria and increased funds are urgently needed to adequately address the humanitarian needs of the crisis, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Speaking to press after briefing the UN Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, Amos, who is also the UN humanitarian coordinator, said that though response efforts are improving, "we still face significant administrative hurdles, we still face access constraints. There are parts of the country we cannot reach."

Amos said she urged Security Council members who have influence on both the government and its opposition "to make it absolutely clear that our humanitarian efforts continue to be independent, to be impartial of any kind of political discussion and to make it clear that we need to get to all Syrians."

The growing numbers of those affected by the conflict are more and more alarming as 4 million Syrians are in need of assistance and 2 million of them are displaced, said Amos.

Relief goods are in short supply, especially within the country, and the harsh winter is exacerbating the problem, she said.

"We have thousands of people who are living out in the open under tattered tents, no access to food, no access to medical equipment or to medical help," she said. "We urgently need funds and we urgently need to increase our capacity."

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) and its partners have made an appeal for 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in aid for the next six months to address the needs of Syrian refugees and those displaced by the fighting.

A high-level pledging conference is scheduled at the end of January in Kuwait to raise funds towards the appeal.

Amos also said that there are 650,000 refugees in neighboring countries and 400,000 out of 500,000 of the Palestinian refugees in Syria are in need of assistance.

The refugee situation is creating "a very negative impact in terms of the domestic, political situation in those countries and also affecting the economies of those countries," she said.

Amos also expressed concern "about the vicious indiscriminate nature of the violence that is taking place, and the increasing levels of sexual violence, which are affecting many women."

"The situation on the ground: it's difficult, it's volatile," she said.