Syria remains the world’s largest and most dynamic displacement crisis, with half of all Syrians displaced from their homes, said Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
Briefing the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Lowcock said that more than 6,500 people have been displaced on average every day in the first nine months of 2017, while some 2,500 people have gone back home.
“Nearly 3 million people continue to live in besieged and hard-to-reach areas throughout Syria, including close to 420,000 in 10 besieged areas,” the UN’s humanitarian agency chief added. “The vast majority of them, 94 per cent, are in eastern Ghouta. “The remaining six percent are in Foah and Kefraya in Idleb governorate, and in Yarmouk in Damascus.”
Lowcock warned that fighting has escalated in eastern Ghouta and Damascus. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that from 14 to 17 November, 84 people were killed and 659 more were injured in the rebel-held area.
“But I am extremely worried about the food crisis in eastern Ghouta. Despite efforts made to reach them, only 100,000 people out of an estimated population of 400,000 in the enclave have received food assistance this year. And those people are only getting occasional one-off deliveries.”
Lowcock went on to say that at least 30,000 Syrians remain stranded in dire circumstances along the Syrian-Jordanian border. He also concerned about increasing displacement in north-western Syria. “Nearly 70,000 people have been displaced to Idleb governorate in recent weeks, while over 27,000 people were displaced within different parts of the governorate in the same period.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday warned that the tightened siege imposed on eastern Ghouta for more than four years has gravely worsened the humanitarian situation for civilians trapped inside, especially malnutrition among young children.
The Assad regime’s closure of the only crossing point into the area on 3 October together with the increase in air and ground strikes have resulted in a rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the death of children due to lack of medicine and food. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)