21 February 2013
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria means humanitarian needs are not being met. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is reaching close to two million people every month, but given the expanding crisis this now only accounts for 35-40 per cent of people in need of aid.
British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nicholas Young, who has recently returned from a visit to Damascus, said: “There is an urgent need to scale up the humanitarian response. Last March, it was estimated one million people needed help. Now that figure is over four million, and growing every day the fighting continues.
“We need to expand the aid pipeline – the Red Cross estimates that, with the UN and its local partners, perhaps 35-40 per cent of the people are getting the help they need. It’s now critical for us to get more food, medicines, cooking equipment, and blankets into Syria.”
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN and other agencies, but the expansion of needs across not only displaced populations, but also established communities, has greatly exacerbated the crisis.
Sir Nicholas Young continued: “Previously we had concentrated operations on displaced people as their vulnerability was greater. Now we see civilians who are still in their homes, but without the means to support themselves as the conflict continues. Many have taken in family and friends, and their situation is becoming desperate.
“Additionally, we need to support the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, who for two years have been facing their largest emergency response as the conflict continues. They have access across the frontlines, but face daily challenges of negotiating access with fighting parties, checkpoints, roadblocks, and increasing levels of criminal activity and violence against humanitarian workers.”
The British Red Cross is appealing for funds for Syria and the region, and has provided aid including ambulances, food, blankets and emergency shelter.
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