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UN launches biggest humanitarian appeal, fearing deepening of Syrian crisis

Press Releases, 16 December 2013

Geneva, 16 December 2013

Faced with the prospect of a worsening situation inside Syria and continuing outflows of refugees in 2014 UN agencies on Monday appealed to donors for US$6.5 billion in funds the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency.

The response plans were presented to donors today in Geneva on behalf of UN agencies and NGOs by the Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. The two organizations they represent lead the multi-agency international humanitarian responses underway inside Syria and in the surrounding region.

"As we look towards the fourth year of this appalling crisis, we see that nearly three-quarters of Syrians will need humanitarian aid in 2014. With the help of the international community, the United Nations, Red Crescent and partner NGOs will continue deliver vital aid and seek protection for the ordinary men women and children caught up in the conflict," said Valerie Amos.

Monday's appeal is based on projections of continuing humanitarian needs and large-scale displacement both inside Syria and into neighbouring countries during 2014. Some $2.3 billion of the $6.5 billion total is for the OCHA-led Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) for people inside Syria. The remaining $4.2 billion is for the UNHCR-led Regional Response Plan 6 (RRP6), which helps refugees and host-communities in neighbouring countries. The 2014 appeals represent the support plans of more than 100 partner organizations UN agencies, national and international NGOs who are working together to address the needs of Syrians.

"We're facing a terrifying situation here where, by the end of 2014, substantially more of the population of Syria could be displaced or in need of humanitarian help than not," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "This goes beyond anything we have seen in many, many years, and makes the need for a political solution all the much greater." He added, "For now it remains of live-saving importance that the international humanitarian response is supported. Massive international solidarity is crucial, not only to support suffering Syrians, but also for the countries that have so generously taken in refugees. The Syria crisis is having a dramatic impact on their economies, societies and even on their security."

Over 2.3 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, in one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history. Support for the surrounding countries includes help for refugee-hosting communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, who provide Syrians with basic shelter, protection and other essential support. The planning projections contained in RRP6 allow for up to 4.1 million refugees by end 2014.

USG Amos emphasized the fact that to end the suffering altogether Syrians need a political solution. "As humanitarians our focus must be on continuing to do everything we can to reach people with life-saving and life-sustaining aid. This includes mobilizing funding and urging the commitment of all who have influence over the parties who perpetuate this conflict, to ensuring the flow of aid and to protecting civilians," she said.

See also: Syria Regional Response Plan (RPP6)

For further information, please contact:

  • UNHCR Lebanon: Peter Kessler on +962 79 631 7901, Roberta Russo, +961 71 910 320, Dana Sleiman, + 961 3 827 323.
  • UNHCR UAE, Mohammed Abu Asaker, + 971 50 621 3552.
  • UNHCR Jordan, Aoife McDonnell, + 962 7 9545 0379.
  • OCHA Geneva, Jens Laerke, + 41 79 472 9750, laerke@un.org
  • OCHA New York, Amanda Pitt, +1 917 442 1810 pitta@un.org
  • UNHCR Geneva, Melissa Fleming, + 41 79 557 9122 fleming@unhcr.org
  • UNHCR Geneva, Adrian Edwards, + 41 79 557 9120 edwards@unhcr.org
  • UNHCR Geneva, Dan McNorton, + 41 79 217 3011 mcnorton@unhcr.org
  • UNHCR Washington: Brian Hansford (+1 202 999 8253)
  • UNHCR Ottawa: Gisele Nyembwe (+1 613 986 4300)
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