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Urgent Humanitarian needs in Syria and region have doubled yet global response remains critically underfunded, warns Action Against Hunger
LONDON, 2 February 2016 // Ahead of the “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference” that will take place in London on 4 February, Action Against Hunger is calling on world leaders to fill the urgent gap between immediate humanitarian needs and available funding.
After five years of conflict, the disconnect between humanitarian needs and the required funding for the Syria crisis is widening, preventing humanitarian actors to meet even the most immediate needs. The funding gap for the Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan and the Regional Resilience Response Plan has increased to 44 per cent. Three years ago it was 30 per cent.
“We are concerned that this conference will shift the focus to medium- and long-term solutions for Syria, when in fact there are 13.5 million people in the region who do not have access to urgently needed clean water, food, sanitation and shelter right now,” says Manuel Sanchez Montero, Director of Advocacy at Action Against Hunger in Spain. “It is important that while governments negotiate a solution to the conflict, funds are dispersed rapidly to ensure that the immediate humanitarian needs of the population of Syria—and the region—are met.”
Unmet needs across the region
There are now more than 6.5 million internally displaced people in Syria and 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 exhausted with many of them even opting to return to Syria, which means risking their lives.”
Hunger in wartime
In Syria, it is estimated that over three million people, including children, cannot meet their nutritional needs and 8.7 million live in food insecurity.
"There is still little information available in many inaccessible areas and we fear to find even worse scenarios," explains Poitou.
Action Against Hunger is one of the few international organisations working in Syria and is providing food, safe water, basic sanitation and psychological support to more than 1 million people in the region.
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