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U.N., E.U. Officials Call For More Humanitarian Action In Syria

Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, on Monday spoke to the U.N. General Assembly and “urged the international community to demand a diplomatic solution to the 2 1/2-year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people,” the Associated Press reports. “He said 4.5 million people are displaced inside Syria, 18 million remain in their homes and have become the first providers of humanitarian aid to their fellow citizens, and more than 2.5 million are unemployed and struggling to survive,” the news agency writes (Lederer, 7/29). Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), “said Tuesday that 600,000 Syrians could not receive aid this month as spiraling violence prevented convoys from reaching them,” Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost notes (7/30). “As of [Tuesday], WFP had dispatched food for 2.4 million people, short of the July goal” of three million, the U.N. News Centre writes (7/30). “Byrs said it costs the [WFP] $29.3 million to $30 million each week to finance aid operations,” the New York Times notes, adding, “The organization is seeking $763 million in contributions through the end of the year to help up to seven million Syrians, including four million people in Syria and almost three million refugees in neighboring countries” (Banco, 7/30).

“The lawless conflict in Syria is rekindling dangers — from disease to forms of political violence — that have been dormant for decades, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union’s commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid, and crisis response, told Foreign Policy on Monday,” the news service’s “Passport” blog reports. “According to the [WHO], polio was eradicated in Syria in 1995 … [b]ut the disease has returned during the country’s civil war,” the blog writes, adding, “Other diseases — including measles, typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis, and leishmaniasis, informally called the ‘Aleppo boil’ — have also proliferated in the absence of professional medical care.” According to the blog, “Georgieva is pressing for protected humanitarian corridors to funnel aid and assistance to the countries taking in refugees,” and she said the E.U. is “prepared to do our part” (Stuster, 7/30).