Largest Humanitarian Appeal In History Issued

The United Nations says Syria needs billions of pounds to deal with the refugee crisis sparked by the 26-month-old war.



The United Nations has issued the largest humanitarian appeal in history for Syria after it is estimated that half of the population will need aid in 2013.

Syria, which is embroiled in civil war, needs $5bn (£3.2bn) this year – overshadowing the $2.2bn sought by the world body for Iraq in 2003.

The new appeal is a sharp increase from the $3bn the UN had previously estimated for the country.

Officials said the rise is based on the worsening security situation, the growing number of people fleeing to neighbouring countries and the assumption that the conflict won’t end soon.
Syrian Refugees Seek Shelter In Makeshift Camps In Jordan

Refugees in a makeshift camp in Jordan

The war has now lasted 26 months and claimed more than 94,000 lives.
The appeal said $2.9bn will be needed for 3.45m refugees that have spilled over the borders and 6.8m citizens inside the country while $1.4bn is required for humanitarian needs.

The governments of Lebanon and Jordan are also appealing for funds, asking for $449m and $380m respectively. More than 1.6m refugees have escaped there as well as to as Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

“By the end of the year, half of the population of Syria will be in need of aid,” said Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN’s refugee agency.
Syrian refugees shovel away water which had collected outside their tents after heavy rain at the Al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq

A refugee camp in Jordan

He added: “The figure for the new appeal is both an expression of the alarm about the situation facing Syrians and an absence of a political solution.”

So far, over $1bn has been received.

It comes a week after claims made by the French government that it has evidence the regime has used the nerve gas Sarin during the uprising – an allegation the US is evaluating.

Syria refugees in the Islahiye Camp in Turkey
Syrians at a camp in Turkey

A 33-page report released by Human Rights Watch, called Safe No More, also said students have been beaten for alleged anti-government activity and had their classrooms turned into military bases, detention centres and sniper posts by both Syrian armed forces and opposition fighters.

The report was based on interviews with dozens of Syrian refugees.