The human cost of Syria’s war
|As Ban Ki-moon predicts a rise in refugee numbers, we ask if enough is being done to help those fleeing the country.Inside Syria Last Modified: 02 Dec 2012 12:16|
|Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, is predicting a surge in the number of Syrian refugees as the violence in the country reaches what he calls “new and appalling heights of brutality”.
He told the UN General Assembly that civilians are being massacred almost daily and that he expects the number of refugees to reach 700,000 by January.
The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, estimates that there are more than 465,000 Syrians who have fled their homeland. This number takes into account registered refugees and those awaiting registration.
The UN agency stresses that tens of thousands of others are also believed to have been forced to leave Syria, but have not registered for help. The organisation also says that they cannot help as many they would like and blames the lack of security and the limited number of aid agencies authorised to work in the country.
Valerie Amos, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator, explained: “We are currently supplying food to about 1.5 million people. We would like to be able to increase that to 2.5 million people, but we don’t have the capacity through the partners that we are able to use to increase to that number of people.”
Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi, the Arab League-United Nations special representative for Syria, has been briefing the UN General Assembly on the humanitarian crisis there.
“Another greater handicap is the shortage of funding. As you heard from the secretary-general, the Syria humanitarian assistance response plan is only 50 per cent funded and the regional response plan is only 38 per cent funded. Military confrontations in Syria have continued unabated. Indeed, fighting has expanded geographically to almost all parts of Syria and intensified very significantly.”
So, what has been the human cost of a conflict that is now in its 20th month and appears no nearer to being resolved?