January 20, 2015
It has become exceedingly difficult for aid agencies to accommodate the needs of millions of Syrians in dire need of help after more than three years of a bloody conflict. With no end in sight, and with harsh stormy weather sweeping across the region, the number of refugees and internally displaced people continues to increase rapidly. Freezing temperatures make the plight of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families more difficult. At least 30 people, mostly children, have frozen to death during the past couple of months inside and outside Syria.
A UNHCR report entitled “Living in the Shadows” found that two-thirds of Syrian refugees in Jordan live below the national poverty line, with refugees across the region slipping ever further into poverty. In Lebanon, where Syrian refugees make up a quarter of the population, the strain on hosting communities is increasing rapidly, and attacks against refugees have become alarmingly common.
Over 12 million Syrians are in dire need of assistance. Inside Syria, millions battle against exceptionally difficult circumstances, where more than 7.6 are displaced and over 4.5 million remain in difficult to reach or besieged areas.
The $206 million winterization plan launched by the UN in October 2014 remains underfunded by $70 million. UN World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson, Elisabeth Byrs, said that the WFP alone needs $214.5 million for its operations in Syria and the region.
The Syrian Coalition is grateful to donor countries for their generous contributions, but more is needed. Aid organisations remain short on funds as we face the worst humanitarian disaster in a century. Donor countries delivering on their pledges will help alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of families. Host communities, who have shown exceptional hospitality to Syrian refugees, also need assistance to continue supporting millions of refugees.