UN appeals for more humanitarian assistance for Syrians

2013-07-17 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) An estimated 5,000 Syrians are dying every month in the country's civil war and refugees are fleeing at a rate not seen since the 1994 Rwanda genocide, U.N. officials said Tuesday.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said at least 6.8 million Syrians require urgent humanitarian assistance and accused the government and opposition of “systematically and in many cases deliberately failing their obligation to protect civilians.”

She detailed numerous bureaucratic, logistical and financial challenges facing those assisting millions of Syrians in the country and the region:

“We need designated empowered interlocutors so that agencies can engage with someone with the necessary authority to address constraints. Lifting bureaucratic constraints, as already mentioned. The granting of free passage of medical supplies and demilitarizing medical facilities. We need prior notification to civilians and aid convoys of military offensives. We need designation of priority humanitarian routes, including across front lines, to allow safe passage of convoys. We need the use of humanitarian pauses in fighting to allow access to people and, as appropriate, cross-border operations. And crucially, we need the funding to support our work: an additional $3.1 billion to meet the needs of people in Syria and neighbouring countries for the rest of this year.”