Seven-day visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey concludes – his first official mission in the region since taking over as United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator – Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths compressed “The United Nations needs to be able to reach the people who depend on its help, whether from Turkey or from inside Syria.”
“Humanitarians and donors must keep Syria at the top of our collective agenda to prevent the loss of an entire generation,” he stressed.
1. In Gaziantep, I visited UNmigrationSupported center where I interviewed Syrian refugees and members of the Turkish host community.
This is Mohammed, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee who arrived in Turkey as a child. Instead of school, he had to work in a restaurant to support his family. pic.twitter.com/aEXUCpiwpQ
– Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) September 3, 2021
Expand humanitarian access
During meetings with the Syrian Foreign Minister and his deputy, Mr. Griffiths stressed the need to expand humanitarian access, protect civilians, and help Syrians envision a future for themselves.
His visit coincided with the first cross-line humanitarian operation in northwest Syria since 2017, which he welcomed as an important step to reach more people in need with much-needed aid.
Mr. Griffiths traveled to Damascus via the UN Humanitarian Air Service, holding constructive meetings with senior government officials and the humanitarian community, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Red Crescent Societies, among others.
In Beirut, he spoke with donors and discussed with the Deputy Prime Minister and the country’s humanitarian task force the needs of the fast-growing country, including the acute fuel crisis that threatens healthcare and safe drinking water.
During his visit, the Humanitarian Coordinator announced the allocation of $4 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).CERF) to support an increase in the supply of fuel for the continued operation of essential services.
Meanwhile, the United Nations and its partners have developed 2021-2022 Lebanon Emergency Response Plan Providing life-saving humanitarian support to 1.1 million of the most vulnerable Lebanese and migrants affected by the ongoing crisis.
The $378.5 million humanitarian plan complements the UN plan Software Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, which also includes Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them.
On the last leg of his trip, Mr. Griffiths traveled to Turkey where he met the Presidential Spokesperson, Deputy Secretary of State and others.
In Hatay province, on the Turkish-Syrian border, he visited a humanitarian transhipment center to monitor UN cross-border operations into Syria, where every month the organization sends 1,000 trucks of food, medicine and other life-saving aid to millions in desperate need, cut off by hostilities.
He stopped in Gaziantep, the westernmost point of Anatolia, and connected with Syrian refugees and host communities, while in Aleppo he visited UN-supported projects. Syria Humanitarian Fund He spoke with Syrians about the profound effects of more than a decade of conflict.
“I met people in Aleppo whose lives were turned upside down by the long-running Syrian crisis,” said Mr. Griffiths.
As Syria’s economic downturn continues to exacerbate already staggering levels of poverty, the UN official has listened to communities who have demanded support to resume their lives.
“Everyone expressed their desire to feel safe, but in particular they requested access to basic services: health care, water, electricity and fuel for heating in the winter,” he said. Children want to learn, young people want to work. They want support to shape their dignified path to a better future.”
The tag is missing
So far, the United Nations and its partners have received only 27 percent of the funding needed for the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, which is requesting $4.2 billion.
The $5.8 billion Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan aims to assist more than 5.5 million Syrian refugees and host communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey with only 19 percent funded.