There are 14.6 million Syrians in need of aid and around 6.9 million others displaced, the UN announced yesterday. The spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said that Syria has the largest number of "internally displaced persons (IDP) in the world." Stephane Dujarric added that they were also facing a "high level of needs" and "limited access" to basic services.
"Ongoing hostilities, poor infrastructure and ever-decreasing purchasing power are undermining people's resilience," Dujarric pointed out while warning that 90 per cent of the Syrian population are estimated to "live below the poverty line."
Referring to what he described as the "worsening socio-economic trends," the UN official explained that they were expected to "further increase" extreme poverty levels.
"Syria ranks amongst the most food-insecure countries globally, with over half the population being severely food insecure," he noted. A quarter of children under five years old in parts of Syria face "stunted" growth. "This causes irreversible damage to their development."
Dujarric went on to say that the international organisation delivered humanitarian assistance to "an average of 6.8 million people per month last year." Around 2.4 million people were reached through the cross-border operation each month.
"The UN and partners are also ramping up efforts to support resilience and early recovery programming, to revitalise access to critical basic services alongside life-saving work." The latter, he stressed, will require more funding and more access to reach more people in need.
The Syrian crisis has been ongoing since March 2011 when popular protests erupted against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. The people demanded a peaceful transfer of power, but the militarised response of the regime plunged the country into a devastating war, which is ongoing.