Threat of War Compounds Humanitarian Situation in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – With tension escalating in Syria and the threat of a US attack looming large, the humanitarian crisis in that country is getting worse, and the aid agencies which cater for the millions of refugees and displaced people have been thinly stretched.
Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross office in Syria says so far over 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the conflict, and every day scores of people lose their lives due to lack of medicine and medical facilities.
He added that there are areas in Syria where the aid agencies have not had access to for months, and that even around capital Damascus, people are dying due to lack of medicine, and some go hungry as they do not receive food aid regularly.
The IRCS official in Syria says as the tension is rising, so too is the number of displaced people and the humanitarian needs.As the possibility of an American air strike on Syria increases, the flow of refugees leaving the country has quickened, with 12,000 people arriving in Lebanon on Thursday alone, the Euronews reported.
Around 700,000 are already there, in a country with a population of four million. It has stretched Lebanon’s ability to take care of them beyond breaking point.
“There is no space left; it is crowded with refugees here. At first they were afraid of the chemical weapons, now they are afraid of the new attack. Everybody flees to this place,” said a Lebanese relief organization representative.
The situation is becoming so critical that it is alarming for the United Nations.
“In Syria we are witnesses to the physical destruction of the country, a collapse of many of the state institutions and an enormous suffering of the people – those who have been killed and those who have to flee in all directions,” said Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“In these circumstances, the most important contribution a country can give to this humanitarian drama is to keep the borders open for those in need of protection.”
Jordan has half a million refugees, Turkey 400,000, and Iraq 150,000. Keeping those frontiers open will be extremely difficult.
“The humanitarian needs are immense. There are acute shortages of vital medical supplies, water, food, especially in areas that have been sealed off for months and where the IRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were not granted access,” said the ICRC’s Dibeh Fakhr.
Add to these figures the more than four million people who have been internally displaced within Syria and it adds that up to a humanitarian time bomb whose fuse is burning ever shorter.