Everyone has a right to safety, and to access food – UNHCR’s Grandi’s message from Syria
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, urged much more support to address the staggering humanitarian needs in Syria after a visit to the country that ended today.
Grandi’s visit focused on drawing the world’s attention to the 14.6 million people in the Syrian Arab Republic in need of humanitarian assistance, including over 6.9 internally displaced people. Some 90 per cent of Syrians live below the poverty line and more than 13 million have been displaced in the past 11 years, with 5.5 million refugees hosted in five neighbouring countries.
“It’s everybody’s right to be safe and to have access to food, basic livelihoods, water, shelter and warmth,” he said. “This is my appeal from Aleppo, and why I call on donors to continue supporting us to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, especially as winter approaches.”
“UNHCR, along with other UN agencies, NGOs and local partners is working hard to help. While the political and security situation in Syria and the region remains complex, humanitarian responses must not be conditioned by political considerations,” Grandi added.
UNHCR in Syria provides protection and assistance to internally displaced people, returnees, refugees and stateless people based on identified needs and vulnerabilities.
During his two-day visit to Syria, Grandi travelled to the historic city of Aleppo and surrounding areas where he met Syrian families who spoke of the mounting challenges they face in providing for their children. Some were still displaced, others had returned after displacement within Syria or abroad.
In Aleppo, the High Commissioner met Budoor Kero, a widow and a mother of four who was displaced and has now returned to live with her elderly parents. With no source of income and residing in a house with no electricity and little running water, she told the High Commissioner of her impossible daily task: getting enough food for her children and sending them to school.
UNHCR and its partners support the most vulnerable Syrians, like Budoor. Assistance includes blankets, mattresses as well as solar lamps that allow Budoor’s children to do their homework in the evening.
During his visit, Grandi met with Syrian Government officials, including Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Al-Mekdad and discussed a range of issues to bring relief and solutions to the people of Syria.
“I witnessed the remarkable strength, resilience and energy of ordinary Syrian people trying hard to build a better future for themselves and for their children, but they face extraordinary challenges,” Grandi said. “As the hardship continues, we must bring them help and hope.”
To continue providing assistance to refugees and displaced people in Syria and neighbouring host countries until the end of the year, UNHCR urgently requires USD$271 million, without which it will have to cut back on essential and life-saving aid.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Observatory.