The UN humanitarian chief told a news conference on Tuesday that the crisis in Syria “remains one of most complex, volatile and violent in the world.”
“Of course we fear that it will get worse,” Stephen O’Brien, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, said. “And even if peace was to take place from tonight, the humanitarian needs within Syria would continue for a good time to come.”
At an aid conference held in Finland on Tuesday, the UN said it would need a total of $8 billion this year to provide life-saving assistance to millions of Syrians inside their shattered homeland and to refugees and their host communities in neighboring countries.
The first part, a $4.63 billion appeal for 5 million Syrian refugees – 70 percent of whom are women and children – was launched at a Helsinki conference. Funds will be used to provide food, rent, education and health care.
A separate appeal for an estimated $3.4 billion to fund its humanitarian operation to help 13.5 million people inside Syria after nearly six years of war is being finalized.
Five countries – Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt – host nearly 5 million Syrian refugees; a “staggering number”, with few living in camps, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said.
“Even were there to be a political settlement tomorrow, we would still be here seeking support for humanitarian relief for a country that has been brought to its knees, with 85 percent living in poverty, 50 percent in unemployment and with the severe economic and social impacts on the neighborhood.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)