Foreign

Humanitarian Help: UN Seeks $10bn For Syria

The United Nations (UN) is expected to call on international donors to pledge up to 10 billion Dollars on Tuesday to help Syrians fleeing a decade of civil war in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the event, the fifth annual conference to keep Syria’s refugees from starvation, the UN will argue that the need for humanitarian support has never been so great.

The conference is being hosted by the European Union (EU), and will seek some 4.2 billion Dollars for people inside Syria as well as 5.8 billion Dollars for refugees and their hosts in the Middle East.

“It has been ten years of despair and disaster for Syrians,” said UN aid chief Mark Lowcock. “Now plummeting living conditions, economic decline and COVID-19 result in more hunger, malnutrition and disease. There is less fighting, but no peace dividend,” Mr. Lowcock said in a statement.

Fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels has subsided since a deal a year ago ended a Russian-led bombing campaign that had displaced over a million people. However, Russian air strikes, along with Iranian and Syrian-backed militaries, continue to attack rebel outposts.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to address the conference on Tuesday. While marking a decade of conflict on March 10, Mr. Guterres had described Syria as a “living nightmare”, where about half the children have never lived a day without war and 60 percent of Syrians are at risk of going hungry.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement called on international donors to help rebuild the country, particularly to repair critical health, water and electricity services.

A recent reuter’s report says around 24 million people in Syria need basic aid, a rise of four million over the past year and the highest number yet since a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters by President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 resulted in civil war.

Frcn, Abuja

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