UN urges more aid for Syrians as winter approaches
People queue to receive humanitarian aid packages in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh governorate, August 18, 2021. /CFP

People queue to receive humanitarian aid packages in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh governorate, August 18, 2021. /CFP

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said Wednesday that more aid is needed for Syrians as winter approaches.

Daily life in Syria is becoming less and less affordable, he told the Security Council in a briefing. Over 90 percent of the population now live below the poverty line and many people are forced to make very difficult choices to make ends meet. 

On top of increasing poverty, water crisis and worsening food security, Syrians are also facing a resurgence of COVID-19. Cases are surging, intensive care units are at full capacity, and vaccination rates remain just below two percent, Griffiths said.

"And now, exhausted by years of conflict, poverty and the pandemic, Syrians are about to face another bitter winter. As temperatures start to drop, rain, cold and winter conditions will compound hardship for millions of people," he warned.

Although the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are doing everything possible to assist the most vulnerable, significant funding gaps remain, he said.

"We need an urgent injection of life-saving aid, especially as Syrians prepare for winter. We need more aid for early recovery and livelihoods. And we need to expand access to basic social services." 

The United Nations and its partners continue to make every effort to scale up assistance.

The World Food Program (WFP)'s cross-line delivery of food aid reached the Idlib governorate in August. Preparations are underway for another WFP cross-line delivery in November.

The United Nations has developed a plan for a series of regular and predictable inter-agency cross-line operations to deliver multi-sectoral assistance in the coming six months and to complement the assistance coming across the border, Griffiths said.

The UN has already submitted the request for the first inter-agency convoy to the government of Syria. The support of both the Syrian and Turkish governments and relevant parties in Northwest Syria for the plan will also be critical, he said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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