World Bulletin / News Desk
The UN is entering 2014 with four major humanitarian crises on its plate – civil war in Syria, sectarian conflicts in the Central African Republic (CAR), disaster in the Philippines and political tensions in South Sudan. To deal with this, some 12.9 billion US Dollars will be needed for all together to help over 52 milion people in 17 countries, the Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said Thursday in New York.
UN will need more money
“It is clear that the United Nations and its partners will be needed more than ever,” she said, noting half of sought funding, asked for in the middle of December – is needed for those affected by the Syrian crisis alone.
Amos added “2013 was a real test of the global humanitarian system, and there is no indication that 2014 will be any different.”
Describing the South Sudan situation and the violence in the Central African Republic as two particularly worrying crises that are “unfolding against a backdrop of abject poverty and a collapsing state,” the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator stressed – “the world’s collective response capacity and resources are being stretched to the limit.”
Still on the top of UN humanitarian concern is Syria, where over 8 million Syrians were driven from their homes, with 2 million of them seeking refuge in neighbouring countries including Turkey.
Exodus of an epic dimension
The exodus of Syrians is alarming for the UN and now there is an average of 127,000 people pouring out of Syria each month, according to the latest figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to the UNHCR, the number of registered Syrian refugees is expected to surpass 4 million at the end of 2014.
Across the region, some 400,000 refugees live in formal camps, but nearly 2 million reside outside formal settlements, the UNHCR said.
The UN also reported that more than 196,000 tents and 809,000 plastic tarpaulins were distributed to refugees residing in camps and other informal sites so far.
UN concerns on Syria goes on
Ms. Amos also joined the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in “strongly condemning the attacks against civilians in Aleppo and in many other parts of Syria,” where hundreds of people have been killed or injured by indiscriminate attacks in recent weeks, as UN officialy reported.
Last week, Mr. Ban voiced grave concern about the government’s use of “barrel bombs,” or oil drums filled with explosives and shrapnel that are dropped by aircraft in some Syrian cities.
“I remind all parties in the conflict of their obligation under international humanitarian and human rights law, and their responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians,” Ms. Amos said on Tuesday.
The Security Council adopted a non-binding presidential statement three months ago in which it underscored that humanitarian organizations operate in a neutral and impartial manner, and need unhindered access to safely reach all people.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby downplayed any disconnect with the White House and said U.S. officials were constantly reviewing Syria options
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