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Aid for Syria crisis victims still not enough: UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian refugee children look from their tent in the UN-run Zaatari camp in Jordan, September 19, 2015. ©AP

The United Nations says despite a surge in the international community’s humanitarian aid to help those affected by the conflict in Syria, the sum hardly keeps up with the rising needs of the afflicted people.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien made the remark on Saturday while on a tour of the Zaatari camp, which is Jordan's largest facility for Syrian refugees.

When asked about the aid shortage, O’Brien said that “need has risen so much that even though we are securing record amounts of funding, record amounts of political will and support, nonetheless the (funding) gap has widened,” because of protracted conflicts in the region, such as those in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen.

Meanwhile, Hovig Etyemezian, the director of the UN-run Zaatari refugee camp, said the international community “hasn't woken up yet to the need to assist Jordan” to address the refugee crisis.

For 2015, aid agencies requested over USD 7.4 billion, both for refugees and those internally displaced by the crisis in Syria. However, the agencies have received only USD 2.8 billion so far, according the UN refugee agency.

Refugee aid programs in host countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq were reportedly just 41 percent funded as of September.

Germany’s donation

In a separate development on Sunday, German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller announced that Berlin would donate USD 22.6 million to the World Food Program (WFP) to supply Syrian refugees with food.

“This means that around 500,000 Syrian refugees in the region can be supplied with food for three months,” Muller told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

In late July, the WFP slashed by half its food assistance for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon due to a funding crisis.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has reportedly claimed more than 240,000 lives up until now.


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