Wed, 31 May 2023

UNITED NATIONS, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The UN humanitarian, refugee, and development chiefs on Tuesday warned against sidelining the Syria crisis.

"Our overriding message today is: now is not the time to turn away from Syrians, making theirs a forgotten crisis," said UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and UN Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner in a joint statement to coincide an annual Brussels pledging conference for Syrians.

"Apathy is not an option. Millions in Syria and the region need our help, more than ever," said the leaders.

The solution to the Syria crisis will, of course, have to be political. The United Nations, under the leadership of Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, is working to advance that track. But the people of Syria, refugees and neighboring host countries deserve continued international solidarity and support, they said.

As the Syrian crisis enters its 12th year without a solution, it is the Syrian people who are paying the price. Within the country, and across the region, the outlook for Syrians is deteriorating. Needs are far greater than ever, said the leaders.

Syria remains an enormous humanitarian and displacement crisis. More than 6.9 million people have fled their homes inside the country, and over 6.5 million remain outside Syria, they said.

Since 2020, there has been a surge in humanitarian needs inside Syria, now at their most acute since the crisis began. Today, 14.6 million people in Syria rely on aid, 1.2 million more than a year before. More than 90 percent of Syrians live in poverty. Gender-based violence and risks to children are on the rise, while potential exposure to explosive ordnance remains high, with one in two at risk. Food insecurity has touched new records. Some 13.9 million people go hungry every day, a misery compounded by wheat shortages partly due to the conflict in Ukraine. Nearly one in two Syrian children are out of school and vulnerable to child labor, early and forced marriages, trafficking, and recruitment by armed actors, they said.

In Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, which have generously hosted refugees and continue to do so, socio-economic pressures have pushed the numbers of Syrian refugees and host communities needing humanitarian assistance to 20 million in 2022 from 10.4 million in 2021, they said.

Of the total appeal for 10.5 billion U.S. dollars, the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan for 2022 seeks 6.1 billion dollars, its largest budget request since inception in 2015, to address the growing needs of approximately 7.1 million refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people and 12.9 million vulnerable host community members.

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