IRC calls on donor countries to dramatically scale up aid for millions of Syrians
29 Jan 2013 - As the Syria region spirals further into crisis, donor countries meeting Wednesday at a pledging conference in Kuwait must urgently ramp up humanitarian aid for millions of desperate Syrians, says the International Rescue Committee.
“The humanitarian disaster in and around Syria is immense and growing steadily worse,” says the IRC’s president, George Rupp. “We are encouraged by early and significant pledges by the US and UK governments and hope other nations will step up as well. It is critical that funding appeals are met, bilateral aid is scaled up for countries hosting large numbers of refugees, and diverse channels are used to get lifesaving aid to Syrians in dire need.”
The conference on January 30, chaired by the UN and hosted by the Government of Kuwait, seeks to raise $1.5 billion for the next six months to assist 4 million people inside Syria and some 700,000 Syrian refugees seeking safety in overwhelmed neighboring countries and North Africa.
A recent IRC report (see www.rescue.org/syriacrisis) says millions of people inside Syria are struggling to survive in decimated communities where health services, shelter, food, water and electricity are increasingly scarce and little if any relief is available. Throughout the region, thousands of refugees stream daily into under-funded camps and even more settle in urban and rural areas of host communities that have no capacity to assist them.
“International and local aid groups are prepared to vastly increase help for Syrian families and other vulnerable populations throughout the region, but need far greater resources and access to do so,” says Alexandra Brosnan, IRC Mideast policy officer, who is attending the Kuwait conference.
The IRC says donor countries must immediately address funding gaps in key areas, including assistance for “urban refugee” populations and the communities hosting them, targeted services for vulnerable women and girls, including survivors of sexual violence, and psychosocial and education support for displaced children. Conference participants should redouble efforts to get aid into Syria—boosting funds for Syrian and international relief groups working on the frontlines and negotiating increased access for more humanitarian aid organizations. The international community must also prepare for a protracted humanitarian emergency and lengthy post-conflict recovery.
About the International Rescue Committee: A global leader in humanitarian assistance for 80 years, the International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst crises and helps refugees and others uprooted by violent conflict, disaster and persecution to survive and rebuild their lives. At work in more than 40 countries and 22 US cities, the IRC works to restore safety, hope, opportunity and dignity. The IRC works in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq assisting tens of thousands of Syrian refugees through medical clinics in refugee-inundated neighborhoods, counseling and safe spaces for survivors of sexual violence, special assistance for separated children, cash assistance and distribution of relief items. The IRC also works with Syrian partners who provide emergency services and deliver medical and winterization supplies inside Syria. For more information, visit www.Rescue.org/syriacrisis.
Melissa Winkler (New York)
+1 646 734 0305 / Melissa.Winkler@rescue.org
Vanessa Parra (New York)
+1 212-551-2744 / Vanessa.Parra@rescue.org
Paul Donohoe (London)
+44 7779 624 385/ Paul.Donohoe@rescue-uk.org