Explosions heard in and around airport in central Syria : state media
Explosions heard in and around airport in central Syria : state media

UN issues 8.8 billion dollar appeal for Syria

Agency News

United Nations,Mar 14 : An 8.8 billion funding appeal has been issued by the UN to help millions of Syrians who live a “razor-edge existence” inside and outside the war-torn country, along with the communities struggling to host them.

'Around 70 per cent of Syrian refugees live a razor-edge existence below the poverty line,' said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi in a joint statement on Wednesday, who recently visited Syria and Lebanon, where refugees make up a quarter of the population.

Under the UN appeal, 3.3 billion dollars is required for the response inside Syria, and 5.5 billion dollars is needed for refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries.

'Reduced assistance due to funding cuts means that refugees are forced to make agonizing choices every day,' Mr Grandi added, 'such as taking children out of school to work, or reducing meals.'

Eight years since the war began, 12 million Syrians are either refugees or displaced inside Syria; adding up to around half the pre-war population.

Violence has lessened in recent months but the “bombs are still falling”, the chair of a Human Rights Council-appointed probe, Paulo Pinheiro, told the forum on Tuesday, his comments coming amid airstrikes in opposition-held north-west Idlib governorate and reports that ISIL extremists are close to defeat in eastern Syria.‘Agonizing choices’ for displaced families

Warning that 'the crisis is not over', UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said that without 'immediate and substantial' funding, life-saving assistance would likely be affected.

'Every woman, man, girl and boy in Syria who need our help, should get it', Mr Lowcock insisted.

Echoing that message, Mr Grandi insisted that Syria’s neighbours 'who have been sheltering millions of Syrian refugees for the past eight years require no less support'.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Achim Steiner, also warned of 'soaring' poverty inside Syria, before highlighting the need to support Syria’s neighbours too.

'In Syria, poverty is soaring, basic service infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, and the social fabric is strained to the limit,' Steiner said. 'Host governments and communities in countries neighbouring Syria need our support to stay the course in extending their generosity to refugees while at the same time maintaining the momentum of their own development path,’ Steiner added.

'Bombs are still falling and civilians continue to pay with their lives for the objectives of the parties to the conflict', Paulo Pinheiro said, noting that ongoing hostilities 'threaten the lives and livelihoods of those daring to return.’

Insisting that the conflict, now in its ninth year, continues to cause scores of civilian casualties, Pinheiro said that Syria’s displaced population continues to face many other problems, including in areas retaken by Government forces.

'Persecution, discrimination, and other forms of ill-treatment continue in Idlib, Douma, Dara’a, and northern Homs,' he further said. 'Arbitrary arrests and detentions continue in Government-controlled areas, including eastern Ghouta, Dara’a, and northern Homs', he added. UNI