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UN official urges international community to boost humanitarian aid

August 23, 2012, 5:01 UTC+3

Syria has been ripped apart by violence since the riot against President Bashar al-Assad some 17 months ago. As a result, almost 17,000 people have been killed

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UNITED NATIONS, August 23 (Itar-Tass) —— It will take about 90 million U.S. dollars to meet urgent humanitarian needs of people in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, said.

She urged the international community to increase its funding to help 2.5 million Syrians who are in urgent need of basic services such as shelter, food, health care, water and sanitation.

“The humanitarian situation has worsened since my visit in March,” she said, adding that lack of access to those in need and insufficient funding are hampering efforts by U.N. agencies and their partners to provide assistance.

“We face problems with access to people in need, particularly where there is intense and ongoing fighting, but funding is also holding us back. If we had more resources, we could reach more people, especially as we have established solid partnerships with local non-governmental organisations and with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent,” Amos said.

Syria has been ripped apart by violence since the riot against President Bashar al-Assad some 17 months ago. As a result, almost 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed.

Last week, Amos made a three-day visit to the strife-torn country and Lebanon to see the situation with her own eyes and to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance.

“Both those who have fled and their hosts have urgent humanitarian needs due to the widening impact of the crisis on the economy and on people’s livelihoods,” she said.

Amos voiced serious concern about the health conditions in schools, which are being used as shelters for displaced persons, and warned of the negative impact that this would have on children when the new school year starts next month.

“There will be a disruption to the education of thousands of children when the academic year begins in September unless other solutions are found to house the internally displaced,” she said.

Amos stressed that the appeal by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for 180 million U.S. dollars in funds for humanitarian aid in Syria has been only half-funded, and urged international partners to “contribute more generously” to be able to increase assistance.

“We will continue to do everything to support those displaced both inside and outside Syria,” Amos said

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