Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United Nations appeals for record $6.5 billion to aid Syria

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United Nations has called for a record-breaking $6.5 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria. Declaring the Syrian civil war as the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of modern time, the U.N. is beseeching the global community to help 16 million Syrian people, many of who go hungry or homeless. The conflict has dragged on for 33 months with no end in sight. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - three-quarters of the Syrian population will need aid in 2014, the U.N. Estimates. Many untold millions have already been forced to flee their homes. The U.N. Adds that the impact had "exceeded all previous benchmarks."

Baroness Amos, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, says that this "is the largest amount we have ever had to request at the start of the year." Amos says that many Syrians "think the world has forgotten them".

In the still raging conflict, 2.4 million Syrians, more than a tenth of the population, have fled to the country's five regional neighbors; Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. These countries are seeing up to 8,000 refugees crossing the borders every day.

Almost half of the Syrian population has been left destitute or homeless in the conflict. A similar number don't have sufficient food, according to the Word Food Program.

Agencies are frantically trying to get food, clean drinking water, shelter, education, health services and polio vaccines inside the devastated country.

Aid workers say that if international donors meet the 2014 appeal, the U.N. might just be able to cope. However, even this year's smaller appeal has not been met, and is estimated to close at the end of December at only just over half funded (60 percent).

The crisis is being harshly felt to Syria's neighboring countries. In Lebanon, where the government does not allow the official construction of refugee camps, Syrians have relied heavily on local host communities. The burden these communities has become so overwhelming that it threatens to destabilize the country.

Tens of thousands of Syrians in Lebanon are left living on the streets, sleeping on beaches, under bridges and in makeshift shacks made out of trash.

Syria's next generation is also being destroyed by the conflict. Untold hundreds of thousands of children have been left orphaned, suffering from psychological trauma, exposed to disease or missing years of education.

Those who come to Syria to help do so at a threat to their own lives. Aid workers are targeted by both government troops and rebel forces. Dozens of volunteer aid workers have been killed as they crossed front lines to reach besieged populations -- or murdered for the goods they carried.

"The regime is the worst offender here in not allowing access and we have continuously called on the regime to allow unfettered access to all areas of Syria," Simon Henshaw, principal deputy assistant secretary with the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.



Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)