The United Nations’ Emergency Relief Coordinator has called on the UN Security Council to expand access and funds for humanitarian operations in Syria.
Syria continues to struggle with increased violence, economic crisis, and winter weather. “It is not over for the Syrian people,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, as he outlined the significant challenges. “And your responsibility is not over either.”
Martin Griffiths specifically called for new and effective early recovery programs that would restore basic services and offer an approach to self-sufficiency.
In his address, he drew attention to the recent attack on a military detention facility in Al-Hasakah that trapped hundreds of children and the early January attack at the Al-Arshani water pumping station north of Idlib city that cut off water supply to at least 240,000 people.
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, has previously reported on fatalities of children bot at the Al-Hasakah facility and those trapped by ISIL-affiliated armed militias throughout the country. Griffiths insisted that: “[it is of] critical importance that all children are accounted for, evacuated to safety, and supported”.
Griffiths will also be essential to resume a deconfliction system, ensure cross-border and cross-line relief, secure access to water and agreement around waterways from the north, support the rehabilitation of civilian infrastructure, enable durable solutions for refugees and close the funding gap for humanitarian operations.
The war in Syria has been defined by targeting civilian infrastructure, which has destroyed half of all health facilities and sewerage systems. Essential services are undermined by severe water shortages due to high temperatures and diminished supply from the Euphrates River.
An estimated 5 million people are affected by the water crisis and there is insufficient supply to maintain electricity across the region. Prolonged water shortages will affect agriculture and it is expected that Syrians will abandon farmlands and livestock, further exacerbating the food shortages that are rife throughout the country.
“2021 was one of the worst years on record for civilians in Syria,” Griffiths said. “We urge donor countries not to turn their backs in 2022.”