December 16, 2013

Massive New UN Funding Target Must Spark International Action to Save Syrian Lives

Takoma Park, Maryland — International aid agencies working in six countries to help people affected by the Syrian crisis today call on the international community to dig deep and be generous in responding to the United Nation’s new Syria and refugee appeals.

The Regional Response Plan (RRP6) and Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) announced today in Geneva put under the spotlight the enormous need for immediate and substantive aid funding, members of the Syria INGO Regional Forum (SIRF) said today.

The new UN appeal underlines how the humanitarian crisis has deteriorated in recent months, as the total amount sought far exceeds the previous $4.3 billion appeal launched last June. So far, donor response has not matched the scale of the humanitarian crisis. Sixty-two percent of the previous UN-led appeal has been funded, and while better than the typical response, it is not enough.

SIRF’s Chairperson, Rob Drouen, said: “The last appeal broke the record of being the biggest appeal ever launched in UN history but that is left in the shade by today’s announcement.”

“This money is urgently needed. The UN does not ask for this lightly. Now is the time for donors to step up and make sure that this appeal translates into actual commitments. We are at breaking point, and governments must act now,” added Drouen.

Syrians now comprise the world’s second largest refugee population. There are more than 2.3 million people struggling to survive in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and beyond with that figure expected to rise substantially by the end of 2014. Most have exhausted all their resources. Increasing rental and food costs and medical expenses are driving families into debt, exposing them to health risks and emotional trauma.

The new appeal acknowledges the needs of urban refugees (those not in tented camps), who currently comprise close to 80 percent of the entire refugee population, and have little or no access to income.

“There are staggering emergency needs, but we must find solutions to meet the requirements of refugee children and families, as well as overburdened host communities. An urgent political solution to the crisis is needed,” said SIRF board member, Dina Morad.

SIRF stresses that the international community has to support development initiatives in the areas of health and education, as well as water and energy supplies – both for refugees and host communities. SIRF welcomes the fact that the new appeal includes the support of host communities. Neighboring countries have been extremely generous hosts, but their capacities and resources have been severely strained. “The generosity of host countries in the region must be recognized and commended,” says Morad. “Without their hospitality, the humanitarian impact of the crisis would be even more devastating.”

Even more bleak and expansive is the humanitarian crisis inside Syria, where millions in need of aid are receiving limited or no assistance, and are forced to move multiple times in search of safety. Aid access to much of Syria is limited due to many reasons including constantly shifting lines of control.

SIRF calls on all donors to commit funds to address the growing needs of crisis-affected Syrians wherever they may be. The Forum also urges the international community to ensure that humanitarian access is granted, and that aid is strictly impartial, delivered on the basis of humanitarian principles, and is inclusive of the needs of all groups. These groups include many others affected by the crisis, such as Palestinian and Iraqi populations.

The appeal underscores the urgent need for an end to the crisis. Already, more than 100,000 have lost their lives; at least 7,000 of those killed are children. SIRF calls on all parties to work to find a political solution to the conflict.

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For more information, please contact:

For interviews, please contact:

  • Thierry-Mehdi Benlahsen, Regional Emergency Coordinator for Handicap International, +1 (240) 450-3531
  • Rob Drouen, SIRF Chair and ACF Regional Representative Middle East, Mobile: +962 (0) 775 180672
  • Dina Morad, SIRF Board Member and Policy Advisor for Mercy Corps: +962 77 606 0085
  • Sarah Case, SIRF Board Member and IRC Regional Advocacy Officer: +962 775 090799
  • Gaia van der Esch, SIRF Board Member and ACTED Regional Project Development Manager: +962 796017682
  • Gareth Richards, Regional Director CARE Middle East and North Africa, Mobile: +20 1223 987 329

Members of the Syria INGO Regional Forum (SIRF) responding in Syria and in neighboring countries include:
ACAPS, Action Aid, CARE, CAFOD, Danish Refugee Council, ICMC, Action Against Hunger, DanChurchAid, Handicap International, HelpAge International, International Council of Voluntary Agencies, ACTED, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Medical Corps, MEDAIR, INTER SOS, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, International Rescue Committee, Life for Relief and Development, Medecins du Monde, Medecins sans Frontieres, Norwegian Refugee Council, OXFAM, Première Urgence—Aide Médicale Internationale, RELIEF International, Save the Children, Solidarites International, Un ponte per, Mennonite Central Committee, Secours Islamique FRANCE, Terre des Hommes International Federation, The Lutheran World Federation, War Child, World Vision

Contact:

Mica Bevington, Director of Communications and Marketing
Handicap International US
 +1 (240) 450-3531
 mica_bevington@yahoo.co.uk


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