Humanitarian crisis in Syria needs robust funding

Jan 29, 2013, 11:57 ET from InterAction

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Greater international commitment is needed to respond to the mounting humanitarian crisis in Syria, where a fifth of the population require assistance but access to those in need is severely limited, said the NGO alliance InterAction.


International donors are set to meet in Kuwait on Wednesday for a pledging conference for Syria. The United Nations has set a target of raising $1.5 billion over the next six months to help 4 million people inside Syria and some 700,000 who have fled the war to neighboring countries and North Africa.

"An infusion of funds is needed to respond to this humanitarian calamity. A recent spell of cold weather has compounded this misery and we must to step up our efforts to reach those in need," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.

InterAction members are working alongside local partners and international agencies to get aid to those affected by the 22-month long conflict, but security concerns have made access a constant challenge both in areas controlled by the Syrian government and the opposition.

"Civilians should not be punished simply because they happen to find themselves in areas under the control of one party to the conflict. All parties to the conflict should meet their obligations under international law to respect civilian immunity and allow impartial humanitarian agencies to carry out their work," said Worthington.

The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed since the civil war began. Syrians are fleeing in greater numbers from the conflict and more than 125,000 people have fled over the past month to neighboring states.

Worthington underscored the need for donors to recognize that assistance to Syria must be made in a neutral, non-politicized way.

"The best approach is to increase humanitarian assistance to agencies with a proven capacity to reach vulnerable people on both sides of the conflict.  Any overt politicization of aid will further jeopardize access to vulnerable people," he added.

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. To learn more visit our website. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

To see a list of InterAction members responding to the Syrian regional crisis, visit our donation page.

SOURCE InterAction