Funding for humanitarian operations in Syria, neighboring host countries at critical low: IOM

Syrians, displaced from Ras al-Ain, a border town controlled by Turkey and its Syrian proxies, are pictured in the camp of Washukanni in the northeastern Syrian al-Hasakeh governorate, as temperatures soar on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) António Vitorino has raised the alarm over the lack of adequate funding for humanitarian operations required to support millions in Syria and neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees.

Twelve years since the beginning of its civil war in 2011, Syria remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with 6.6 million people displaced inside the country and at least 5.3 million registered refugees in neighboring countries, the IOM said in a statement.

“Whilst the number of people in need continues to increase, especially in the aftermath of the earthquakes in February, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) remains only 11 per cent funded for this year,” Vitorino said, adding that Syrians and their host communities need the continuous financial support and solidarity of the international community.

The EU will hold the 7th Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ on June 14-15 in Brussels. The conference is expected to address critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians in Syria and neighboring countries and those that impact communities hosting Syrian refugees in the region.

A special Donor Conference was held earlier this year to support the people in Turkey and Syria in the wake of February’s devastating earthquakes.

Ghada Eltahir Mudawi, deputy director of the Operations and Advocacy Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) earlier said 15.3 million people require humanitarian assistance throughout Syria, representing nearly 70 per cent of the country’s population.

According to Mudawi, earthquakes that hit Turkey in early February compounded the already bleak humanitarian situation, with more than 330,000 people displaced in Syria.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on Monday was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

The preliminary Syria Earthquake Recovery Needs Assessment has estimated almost $9 billion in damage and losses, and $14.8 billion in recovery needs over the next three-year period, according to OCHA.

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