For the first time in Syria’s 12-year war, people in every district are experiencing some degree of “humanitarian stress,” and a staggering 15.3 million — nearly 70% of the population — need humanitarian aid, the United Nations said Tuesday.
A UN appeal for $5.4 billion to help over 14 million people in Syria is less than 10% funded and the UN World Food Program has warned that without additional money, 2.5 million people are at risk of losing food or cash assistance from July.
The dire humanitarian situation, compounded by the February earthquake that devastated the opposition-held northwest, was spelled out to the Security Council by the UN humanitarian office’s operations director Edem Wosornu.
The Syrian people “are more and more reliant on humanitarian assistance as basic services and critical infrastructure are on the brink of collapse," she said.
According to The Associated Press, Wosornu urged generous pledges and the swift release of funds at a European Union hosted conference in Brussels on June 14-15. She said “Syrians need the support of the international community now more than at any time in the past 12 years.”
She said the need to maintain the delivery of humanitarian aid to the northwest is even more critical after the earthquake. She said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a 12-month extension of the UN mandate, which expires in July, saying the assistance is “indispensable” and “a matter of life and death for millions of people” in the region.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States will seek a council resolution to extend aid deliveries through the three border crossings currently operating: Bab Al-Hawa, which was the single crossing Russia would allow to remain open in January, as well as Bab Al-Salam and Al Raée, which Syria’s President Bashar Assad agreed to open after the quake, which killed over 6,000 in Syria and has displaced over 330,000. Assad has agreed to keep the two additional crossings open through Aug. 13.