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UN struggling to reach millions in Syria

Senior UN official said yesterday that the organisation has been struggling to deliver aid to around 40 per cent of civilians in Syria because of the ongoing struggle and the major funding shortfall, AFP reported.

As the war heads towards a fifth year, some 4.8 million Syrians, around 40 per cent of the total 12.2 million people in need for help, are difficult to reach, UN Assistant Secretary-General for aid Kang Kyung-wha said.

Speaking to the Security Council, the official said that the UN agencies were unable to deliver food to Raqa and Deir Ez-Zor in December because they were controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) and to towns besieged by Syrian regime troops and opposition forces.

Cross-border deliveries of aid reached over 700,000 people, but “despite these efforts, needs continue to outpace response”, Kang said.

The United Nations is requesting $2.9 billion this year to fund aid operations for Syria, where fighting has led to what Kang described as “one of the worst displacement of people the world has seen in decades”.

UN agencies received less than half of the donations requested for last year, leaving “hundreds of thousands” of civilians without aid during the harsh winter months, Kang explained.

“More funding is urgently required,” she told the council.

A total of 7.6 million people have been displaced by the fighting inside Syria in addition to 3.8 million refugees who fled to neighbouring countries, mostly Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

“This council must find a way to end the conflict in Syria,” said Kang, noting that in four years, the number of Syrians in need of assistance had surged from one million to 12 million.

International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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