Call from Syria: Vital cross-border aid must continue

Call from Syria: Vital cross-border aid must continue

Dec 23, 2019

Statement by People in Need on the renewal of the cross-border mechanism to enter Syria

Statement by People in Need

Last week, members of the UN Security Council failed to agree on a renewal of the cross-border mechanism, threatening the lives of millions who depend on aid arriving in Syria from neighbouring countries. First adopted in 2014 to provide urgent relief to Syrians, the resolution allows humanitarian assistance to enter Syria from neighbouring countries and has been a core component of the humanitarian response by international NGOs and the UN. 

Over 1000 trucks carrying lifesaving aid crossed into Idlib under the resolution in November alone. 4 million people currently live in the small province of Idlib, the vast majority of them (70%) women or children. Half of these people—an astounding two million people—have had to flee their homes and are living in partially-destroyed buildings, in tents erected in fields, or crowded into a single room in a stranger’s home. The escalation in violence in the last weeks alone, according to the UN, has sent 130,000 fleeing.

The worst part of this reality is that it has been going on for over eight years, in the absence of a resolution to the conflict. At this point, families tell us, their every resource has been exhausted and their health is deteriorating. Many have fled multiple times, each time becoming more drained and taking fewer belongings with them.

People in Need calls on UN Security Council members to ensure that resolution 2449 is renewed as a matter of urgency, before it expires on 10 January. People in Need joins multiple other NGOs in calling for a one-year renewal so that organizations providing emergency cross-border assistance are able to continue.

Context

THE PEOPLE

Our work on the ground in Syria means that we meet daily with thousands of people—farmers, bakery owners, teachers and parents—who are at risk of being cut off from lifesaving aid.

Basha is a displaced woman and mother of seven. She has been forced to move several times in the last five years, and now has looked for shelter in an informal camp in northern Idlib. The isolated position of this camp means that families are cut off from essential services. “It is most difficult when someone is sick at night and you cannot take him to the doctor,” Basha explained. “Also I feel worried as the winter is coming soon and the tent does not protect us well from the rain and wind.” Read more here.  

Most displaced children have spent long periods of time out of school and many suffer from psychological trauma, which make their future extremely discouraging. Meet Azzam to see the conditions that children are facing in camps. Read more here.

See inside a temporary camp, where Bashar is one of hundreds of thousands of children dependent on aid 

THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

The situation in northwest Syria has worsened in the last few days, according to the UN, with more people having to flee northward due to new airstrikes and shelling. Harsh winter conditions are exacerbating the vulnerability of people in need. Many of those who fled have done so several times already, and are in urgent need of humanitarian support, particularly shelter, food, health, and cooking and heating items.

Many Syrians had fled to Idlib seeking peace, only to find themselves again in danger, as there is a huge population trapped in a relatively small region that is the focus of attacks.

WHAT IS PEOPLE IN NEED DOING?

Our assistance is not being stopped in northern Syria. In the coming days, we are providing aid to people in Idlib displaced by the recent airstrikes. Our team will also distribute hygiene kits, cash grants and ready-to-eat food rations to another 1,000 families this week.

As UN representative Mark Cutts recently put it: “Idleb is burning and the world cannot simply stand by and watch.”

For more information, please contact:

Tomáš Kocian, People in Need’s Regional Director for Middle East, +420 777 787 970, tomas.kocian@peopleinneed.cz

Learn more about our work in Syria here.
Author: PIN