Need for Enhancing Humanitarian Relief to Syrian People

  • 18 December 2013

The United Nations has called on Monday for raising $6.5 billion in funds to help 16 million people in Syria and its neighboring countries next year. This underscores the urgency of helping Syrian people, who are in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis, which the International Relief Committee (IRC) says is turning into a “massive starvation”.

The suffering of the Syrian people is worsened by the ongoing armed conflict in many towns. Relief organizations are unable to deliver humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in areas under siege. In addition, neighboring countries are unable to receive fresh influx of refugees and are citing major economic and security constraints which are restricting their ability to accommodate the steady flow of people. According to UN estimates, the number of Syrian refugees has risen to 7 million, of which 4.25 million are internally displaced while 2.9 million have moved to neighboring countries.

The humanitarian situation in Syria has become grave by all standards, which will have direct impact even for neighboring countries, which are no longer able to meet refugees’ requirements. The situation is becoming so grave that in the absence of immediate solutions the crisis may take on political and security dimensions for host countries, which explains their indecisiveness to let in more people.

Though differences abound in the international community over the handling of the crisis, it remains aware of its ramifications and the toll it has taken on the Syrian people. This is highlighted by frequent calls for action made by various regional and international organizations in solidarity with the Syrian people. For example, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics estimates that 50 percent of the Syrians (11.5 million) are currently enduring shortage in food supplies, and 35 percent (6.3 million) are in dire need. This explains the statement by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in Geneva that: “The Syrian crisis is the gravest threat to international peace and stability since World War II.”

Under the direct instructions of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him), the UAE has been one of the leading countries that have taken the initiative to alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian refugees and homeless by providing them with basic needs. At the International Donors Conference, which was hosted by Kuwait in January 2013, the UAE offered $300 million in assistance to the Syrians, and is offering more support to help them overcome this ordeal. This is consistent with the UAE’s humanitarian policy to support Arab countries in their hour of crisis.