Yet Global Response Remains Critically Underfunded, warns Action Against Hunger at Conference of World Leaders.
Alongside the “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference” that took place in London on February 4, Action Against Hunger is calling on world leaders to fill the dramatic gap between immediate humanitarian needs and available funding.
After five years of conflict, the disconnect between unmet humanitarian needs and the required funding available to address those needs for the Syrian crisis is widening, preventing humanitarian workers from reaching affected populations. The funding gap for the Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan and the Regional Resilience Response Plan has now increased to 44 per cent: three years ago, it was 30 percent.
“We are concerned that this conference will mainly focus attention on medium- and long-term solutions for Syria, when in fact right now there are 13.5 million people in the region who are not able to meet their basic survival needs for clean water, food, sanitation and shelter,” says Manuel Sanchez Montero, Director of Advocacy at Action Against Hunger. “While governments negotiate a solution to the conflict, it is literally a matter of life and death that we place equal priority on rapidly dispersing funds to ensure that the immediate humanitarian needs of the population of Syria—and the region—are met.”
Unmet humanitarian needs across the region
There are now more than 6.5 million people displaced within Syria, and the crisis has created almost 4.6 million refugees. While European countries discuss conditions for integrating the few hundred refugees who are seeking asylum, the needs in the region have doubled.
“Our teams in Lebanon have found that many refugees there have no access to income or means to support themselves. They are no longer able to borrow money, and it is increasingly difficult for them to get a residence permit and access to job opportunities,” explains Jean-Raphael Poitou, Action Against Hunger’s desk officer for the Middle East. “This has led to extreme coping mechanisms, such as child labour. People are absolutely desperate. Many of them are even opting to return to Syria, which means risking their lives.”
Hunger in wartime
In Syria, an estimated three million people, including children, cannot meet their nutritional needs and an estimated 8.7 million do not have reliable, regular access to food.
“There is still little information available in many inaccessible areas, and we fear even worse scenarios,” explains Poitou.
Action Against Hunger is one of the few international organizations working in Syria and is providing food, safe water, basic sanitation and psychological support to more than 3.5 million people in the region.
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