The destruction in Syria wrought by years of bombardment and war. UNHCR Photo

The destruction in Syria wrought by years of bombardment and war. UNHCR Photo

Update 27 February 2018: Since the release of the statement below, the ceasefire declared in Eastern Ghouta was broken. As of Tuesday morning, 27 February, fighting continues.

In an interview with CNN, UNHCR Representative in Syria, Sajjad Malik, has emphasized the need for immediate and unfettered humanitarian access to Eastern Ghouta to deliver desperately needed aid. UNHCR and partner agencies remain poised and ready to deliver critical aid items including food, water, blankets and medical care to those in need.

Joint press release by UNHCR, UNDP and OCHA on the escalating violence in Eastern Ghouta and surrounding areas in Syria.

23 February 2018

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, the UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock today briefed UN Member States in Geneva about the ongoing crisis in Syria and the need for sustained support to Syrian refugees, in Eastern Ghouta and other areas, and the countries in the region who generously host them.

“Now more than ever, it is critical to sustain and reinforce international support to the neighbouring countries and communities hosting some 5.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. They continue to provide a profound service to humanity at a time when inside Syria, inhumanity seems to be prevailing,” the three UN chiefs said.

“We are deeply shaken and distraught by the brutality and utter disregard for civilian lives we are witnessing in Eastern Ghouta and other parts of Syria today. We are urging an immediate ceasefire, protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure and unfettered humanitarian access to Eastern Ghouta, swift evacuation of sick and injured people and safe passage for civilians wishing to leave,” the UN Principals said.

Nearly seven years of relentless violence in Syria has displaced half of Syria’s population, including 6.1 million internally displaced, and 5.5 million Syrians living as refugees in the region.

Despite the generosity of the neighbouring countries, most Syrian refugee families – and many in their host communities – fall below the poverty line and struggle to meet basic needs.

In December last year, United Nations agencies and some 270 NGO partners released the 2018 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), a US$4.4 billion plan designed to support over five million refugees from Syria and 3.9 million members of host communities in neighbouring countries.

“It is vital for the international community to continue to support Syrian refugee families whose needs and challenges increase with every passing day, week, month and year in displacement,” the UN Principals stressed.

Since its inception four years ago, the 3RP has been at the forefront of international efforts to help neighbouring countries deal with the impact of the Syria crisis, which has taken an increasingly significant social and economic toll as the conflict has continued unabated.

The 3RP aims to provide protection for refugee populations, education, health, food security, livelihoods, and water and sanitation services to vulnerable groups.


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