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U.N. Appeals For $6.5B In Humanitarian Aid For Syria As Conflict Continues To Hinder Efforts

“The United Nations and its partners will need nearly $13 billion in funding to reach millions of people with life-saving aid in 2014, with half of that sought for those affected by the deepening crisis in Syria,” the U.N. News Centre reports, noting, “The $6.5 billion sought to assist millions of Syrians inside the country and across the region is the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency” (12/16). The money requested for Syria will cover “food, drinking water, shelter, education, health services and polio vaccines,” according to Reuters (Nebehay/Miles, 12/16). The U.N. “said nearly three-quarters of the country’s population will need help in 2014,” The Guardian writes, adding, “It estimates that close to half of Syria’s population has been displaced, while the World Food Programme [WFP] says a similar number need ‘urgent, life-saving food assistance'” (Chulov, 12/16). A WFP report released Monday estimates “[h]alf of Syria’s population is ‘food insecure’ and nearly a third needs urgent assistance,” Agence France-Presse notes (12/16).

The New York Times examines mounting challenges to aid delivery in Syria, highlighting the work of Valerie Amos, “the top United Nations official responsible for easing the Syrian conflict’s humanitarian crisis.” The newspaper writes that Amos “is facing a conundrum as the 33-month-old conflict enters its second winter,” and notes “Syrians have refused to open access to humanitarian aid from their border with Turkey, which supports the insurgency” (Gladstone et al., 12/16). “[I]t is months since convoys from the United Nations and other agencies have delivered food or medical care to [rebel-held] areas — prevented by a Syrian government accused of using hunger as a weapon of war against its people,” Reuters reports in a separate article, adding, “The United Nations estimates about a quarter of a million Syrians are living under siege as winter bites, most of them encircled by government forces, but also including 45,000 in two towns in the north that are besieged by anti-Assad rebels” (Holmes et al., 12/15).