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Letters To Editor Respond To New York Times Editorial On Polio In Syria

Two letters to the editor of the New York Times respond to an editorial on the spread of polio in Syria, published in the newspaper last week. “You’re right to say that the best way to help end the suffering of Syrians is to end the civil war,” but “the Syrian people can’t afford to wait for the outcome of talks,” Bernice Romero, senior director for public policy and advocacy of international humanitarian response for Save the Children, writes in the first letter. “Governments and armed groups need to ensure aid and access for humanitarian workers now to reach those in need, including those affected by polio,” she states, concluding, “To have a fighting chance to contain the polio outbreak, relief agencies need to vaccinate scores of children inside Syria within weeks. We can’t afford to wait months; we need resources and safe humanitarian access now.”

In a separate letter, Mercy Corps Chief Executive Neal Keny-Guyer offers four recommendations for the response in Syria. “The international community needs to meet the United Nations’ request for $4.4 billion,” “allocate more flexible funding for aid efforts,” “support all of Syria’s neighbors — both politically and financially — and help them manage the strain of millions of new residents,” and “support the United Nations’ call for all parties to respect the world body’s guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance and for greater humanitarian access,” he writes. “The better the job we do taking care of people, the better the prospects for a safe Syria, where people can expect a better future,” he concludes (11/4).