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UN describes humanitarian situation in Syria as catastrophic

WAM New York, Apr 19th, 2013 (WAM) — Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos described the situation in Syria as a real humanitarian catastrophe, due to the ongoing war on one hand and the obstacles and impediments that prevent the provision of the humanitarian aid supplies on the other hand.

Humanitarian organisations are facing enormous and dramatically growing constraints in aiding millions of Syrians overwhelmed by the “human catastrophe” that the war-torn country has become, top United Nations officials warned today, calling on the Security Council to at least do something to end the horror.

“I cannot overstate the seriousness of the current situation in Syria,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said, listing a litany of hurdles facing aid agencies, including visas delayed for up to two months, a three-day notice requirement imposed on all aid convoys and other bureaucratic delays, dozens of road blocks, and a reduction of approved non-Government Organisations (NGOs) from 110 to 29.

She stressed that conditions are most severe in combat- and opposition-controlled areas with latest figures showing 6.8 million people in need, 4.25 million people internally displaced and an additional 1.3 million seeking refuge in neighbouring countries from a conflict that has killed over 70,000 people “And this body has been unable to reach the consensus necessary to support a political solution to the crisis,” she said. “While the humanitarian situation on the ground is becoming more and more disastrous every day, the limitations on the ground have forced us to being precariously close to suspending some critical humanitarian operations.

“We are approaching a point of no return. Members of the international community, particularly Members of this Council must urgently come together in support of the Syrian people,” she added. “This Council must also request the parties to ensure the safe and unimpeded access of aid organisations to those in need in all areas of Syria.” “Contrary to widely held perceptions, aid-flows across the Turkish border to Aleppo have been significantly reduced in the past two months while humanitarian convoys are regularly attacked or shot at and staff intimidated or kidnapped”, she said.

Children are among those who suffer most with three million already affected, including 2 million displaced, Amos said, noting that children have been murdered, tortured and subjected to sexual violence, many do not have enough food to eat and millions have been traumatised by the horrors they have witnessed.

“This brutal conflict is not only shattering Syria’s present, it is also destroying its future,” she stressed.

“We all look to this Council to guarantee the peace and security of the people of our world,” she concluded. “My appeal to this Council is on behalf of the Syrian people but it is also on behalf of all those seeking to assist them. We are losing hope. We cannot do our jobs properly. We look to you to take the action necessary to end this brutal conflict.” WAM/HH/MN