World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Overtaken by Need: Syria's escalating humanitarian crisis

Overtaken by Need: Syria's escalating humanitarian crisis

Refugee numbers in neighbouring countries steadily climb

The world risks failing the people of Syria as the scale of suffering increases and the humanitarian fall-out from the crisis worsens by the day, warned aid agency Oxfam today.

With nearly seven million people in need of humanitarian help inside Syria, the organisation is calling on the UN Security Council to help improve humanitarian access by using its influence to urge the Syrian Government and opposition groups to help ensure aid reaches those most in need. This could mean allowing aid to cross lines of control and cross-border from neighbouring countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Syrian refugees now make up more than 10 per cent of Lebanon’s population. That is the equivalent of 440,000 Syrians arriving in New Zealand – often with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, Barry Coates, said, “The world risks failing the people of Syria at a time when they most need our help. Responding to this crisis is now our number one priority.

“We hear each day that the situation in Syria is desperate for so many but providing an appropriate humanitarian response is extremely difficult – and deeply frustrating. Restrictions on access mean far too many vulnerable people are not getting the help they have a right to.”

The organisation is using its decades of humanitarian experience in some of the most difficult environments in the world to develop its emergency response to the crisis unfolding in Syria. Concern is growing about the impact of the two-year conflict on water and sanitation facilities, in particular, because of the knock-on effect on people’s health and risk of disease.

In addition, the aid agency is calling for the needs of the 1.3 million Syrian refugees now living in neighbouring countries to be fully met.

In a new briefing paper released today, called “Overtaken By Need”, Oxfam says that three months after US$1.5 billion was pledged for the UN’s six-month appeal, just over half of the money has been received, much of it from Gulf countries. Refugee numbers have doubled in the first three months of the year and Oxfam warns that similar or even higher levels of funding will be required for the response in the future as the humanitarian catastrophe worsens.

Funds are particularly short for some organisations – including Oxfam – working with Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

“The aid effort on the borders has been slow to get off the ground and now needs to be scaled up significantly. A massive increase in humanitarian assistance is required but we fear that instead of being stepped up, the reverse is more likely to happen and aid levels could soon decline,” added Coates.

In Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp increased numbers of arrivals mean facilities are stretched to the limit. Oxfam has installed toilets, showers and laundry areas to help 20,610 people in part of the camp but the organisation hopes to do more.

There are concerns that failure to respond fully to the humanitarian emergency could have serious consequences on stability across the wider region. Countries that have generously provided help for Syrian refugees, such as Jordan and Lebanon, are already feeling the economic and social strains of hosting such large numbers and need much greater international assistance, the aid agency said.

There have already been riots over poor living conditions and shortages of aid given in refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. In Jordan, Oxfam is looking at how best to help the vulnerable refugees living outside the camp and in host communities over the next few months.

“When refugees arrive in Jordan and Lebanon they are traumatised and fearful for the future. As the needs of Syrians and refugees increase, so must the response,” said Coates.

“The future will be very bleak for people affected by this crisis unless they get more support.”

The briefing paper, Overtaken by Need, is available on the Oxfam website: http://www.oxfam.org.nz/reports/overtaken-need-syrias-escalating-humanitarian-crisis

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 


$1 Billion In Reparations For Iraq's Invasion Of Kuwait

UN Panel Pays Out Over $1 Billion in Reparations for Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait More>>

UN-Backed Tsunami Warning System Test

A view of the destruction caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 in Point Pedro, a small fishing village in northern Sri Lanka. UN Photo/Evan Schneider More>>

Al Jazeera To Mark 300 Days Since Arrests Of Journalists

• 300 second montage to mark 300 days to be aired on Al Jazeera • Parents of Peter Greste say the past 300 days has been stressful Doha , 23 October, 2014 More>>

4 Months’ Jail For French Journos Should Be Enough

'We hope it will be a lesson for foreigners to not violate their visas in Indonesia.' More>>

Support Needed For Olive Farmers In Palestinian Territory

Olive trees in the Palestinian town of Ni'lin in 2008 were very close to expanding Israeli settlements. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold More>>

ALSO:

Use Of Drones In Law Enforcement May Violate Human Rights

22 October 2014 – The increasing use of armed drones within domestic law enforcement risks depersonalizing the use of force and infringing upon the rights of individual citizens, a United Nations independent human rights expert warned today. More>>

Gaza: Pledges For Aid, Reconstruction Must Be Honoured

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Security Council President for the month of October, María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, is at ... More>>

Ebola: UN Prepares For Arrival Of Trial Vaccines

In early October 2014, with the help of the US Navy, a new mobile laboratory opened at Island Clinic, one of the WHO-supported Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: WHO/R. Sørenson More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news