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Nearly 11 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian aid

In his monthly report to the UN Security Council, Ban Ki-moon said that nearly half of the country is in need of immediate help.

Syrian refugee children stand outside their tent at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar.
Syrian refugee children stand outside their tent at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE NUMBER OF Syrians in urgent need of humanitarian aid has jumped to 10.8 million — nearly half of Syria’s population of 22 million — United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said.

In his monthly report to the UN Security Council, Ban said that a total of 4.7 million Syrians are now in areas that are “difficult or impossible” for humanitarian workers to reach, including 241,000 in besieged areas.

That’s an increase from the previous estimate of 3.5 million people. The report warned that advances made by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in Iraq would only further worsen the situation in Syria.

“Efforts to expand humanitarian assistance to those most in need have been met with continued delays and obstruction,” the report said.

“Far from improving access, new procedures rolled out two months ago have resulted in more delays and reduced the reach of humanitarian partners further.”

Of the 10.8 million total people in need of aid — a 17 percent, or 1.5 million increase from previous estimates — about 6.4 million are internally displaced.

An estimated 160,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The report comes as Western powers work toward a new Security Council resolution that would guarantee the delivery of aid.

But in a letter to the UN Security Council, dated Wednesday, the Syrian mission warned it would consider any enforced cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid without prior agreement from Damascus as an “attack” on the state.

The letter, signed by Syrian and Arab lawyers, warned that the state must give consent for imports of any humanitarian aid.

“Importing aid in coordination with terrorist organizations and without consultation with the Syrian state would amount to an attack on the Syrian state,” said the letter.

It claimed it could be used as a “pretext for aggression.”

Syria opposes the delivery of cross-border aid that would send supplies directly to areas held by the armed opposition in its more than three-year brutal civil war.

© – AFP 2014

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