UN agencies appeal for $8bn for Syria

13 Jan 16

Almost $8bn is needed to support people in Syria and the surrounding region as the conflict heads into its sixth year with no signs of ending, according to three United Nations agencies.


The UN bodies for humanitarian assistance, refugees and development have appealed to donors to deliver $7.73bn to help the 4.7 million refugees that are anticipated to be living in neighbouring countries by the end of this year and the 4 million people in host communities, as well as support for the 13.5 million that have been affected by the conflict in Syria itself.

“While the influx to Europe has finally focused the attention of the world on the Syria crisis and the epic levels of human suffering it produces, the biggest burden by far is shared by communities and governments in the region,” said Filippo Grandi, the new UN high commissioner for refugees.

“We must stop Syrian refugees sliding deeper into abject poverty, boost their hope in their own future and that of their country, and do more to help those hosting them,” he said.

The funding will support the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, known as 3RP, which covers the activities of some 200 government and non-governmental organisations in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

3RP partners urged donor countries to provide multi-year funding and harmonise their humanitarian and development allocations to assist in better planning and predictability.

Helen Clark, UN Development Programme administrator, warned that “conventional approaches of ‘relief now, development later’ will not work in Syria or other situations where recurring and unpredictable emergency needs exist alongside severe, long-term development deficits.

A recent report from the UK aid watchdog said these situations, known as protracted crises, are the “new normal” and the “considerable uncertainty” about how to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development assistance presents a major challenge.

Stephen O’Brien, UN humanitarian chief, added that the Syrian people need more help than ever as nearly 400,000 people in the country are cut off from food, medicine and other supplies as whole towns are besieged by warring parties.

Humanitarian convoys carrying life-saving food, medicine and other supplies finally received access to three Syrian towns after pictures and stories from inside the town sparked an international outcry. Some trapped residents, including children, had died of starvation while others were driven to desperate measures, eating wild plants, cats and foraging for food in minefields. 

Leaders of countries around the world that donate to the Syrian crisis will meet at the Syrian Donors Conference in London on 4 February.

The Syrian appeal are part of a wider $20.1bn humanitarian ask launched last December. The UN said funding will reach 87 million people worldwide. 

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