On the occasion of the fifth international conference on Syria, the United Nations has launched an appeal to international donors to finance support to Syrians within the country and to the communities that host refugees from the conflict.
Ten years since the start of the violence in Syria, at least 24 million people need assistance in the country and in the countries in the region, said the United Nations on the occasion of the 5th Brussels conference for Syria.
"That is four million more than last year, and more than at any other time since the conflict began," it said in a joint statement released by the United Nations humanitarian, refugee and development chiefs on Monday in Geneva, calling on international donors to respond to the immense humanitarian needs.
For 2021, over 10 billion dollars are needed to support Syrians within the country and the communities that host refugees from the conflict, the statement said.
The goal of funds
"There is no respite for civilians in Syria," the UN said, describing a situation aggravated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fundraising appeal will serve to fund food, water and sanitation, health services, education, child vaccinations and shelter for millions of people living on the brink in Syria.
It will also provide cash assistance, job or training opportunities, and other services such as access to primary and secondary education, in conjunction with national systems, to millions in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.
Difficulties aggravated by pandemic
"Plummeting living conditions, economic decline and COVID-19 result in more hunger, malnutrition and disease" and "poverty and inequality are skyrocketing" said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock and UN Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Achim Steiner.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that after a decade of exile, "refugees' hardship has been compounded by the crushing impact of the pandemic."
At last year's conference in Brussels, the international community pledged to financing aid totaling 5.5 billion dollars.