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3 April 2013

In September 2010, Valerie Amos took up her post at the helm of the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. (..) Ms. Amos recently sat down with the UN News Centre following a visit to Turkey, where she visited with some of the more than 1 million refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict in Syria and are residing in neighbouring countries. (..) Some countries have to go through parliaments. Other countries are making decisions about exactly where they want that money to go. But in the meantime, the World Food Programme – trying to deliver food stocks; UNHCR – trying to help refugees; UNICEF – trying to help children; UNRWA – the urgent work that they are doing with the Palestinian refugees; they’re all running out of money, said Amos.


3 April 2013

While for many months several Aleppo districts have been deprived of electricity and, on some days, water, whole families have been forced by the conflict to rely on charity for food. (..) On the other side of the road, store shelves overflow with fruit and honey-filled cakes. Although there is no shortage of food, there are very few people with the money to buy it. The UN World Food Programme says "humanitarian needs are growing in Syria, with serious bread and fuel shortages across the country. In some areas, the prices of most essential items have risen by 200 percent, and the Syrian pound has been devalued by around 80 percent," the WFP added.


28 March 2013

Even though the hunger situation in West Africa’s Sahel region has eased due to a good rainy season last year, there are still challenges, including access to people who fled their homes due to fighting in Mali, Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), tells AlertNet in an interview. Cousin says the international community needs to focus on slow-burning emergencies like the Sahel as well and continue to invest in sustainable solutions to deal with food shortages to avoid future crises.


26 March 2013

Spool forward less than a year and now it is the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies working here – or rather not being able to work here any more. This time we were just north of Damascus and plans to move on with touring food distribution centres came to an abrupt halt when fighting broke out on the road between our location and the capital a few miles distant. “It’s just getting worse and worse, ” Kate Newton, WFP’s deputy here told, me as we waited at the roadside. “There is just more fighting in more areas and it is getting increasingly difficult for us to move around.”


26 March 2013

For too many months, if they survived the night, Syrian children and their families have been waking to day after day of shelling, shooting and fear. (..) The number of refugees in neighbouring countries could soar to 3 million if fighting continues to escalate. (..) UN agencies and their partners are doing all we can to help those facing this fear, hunger, disease and suffering. WFP provides food for 1.7 million people every month in Syria and is scaling up to feed over 2 million. (..) We are not only reaching areas controlled by the government but also delivering some assistance into opposition-held areas — though we need more access. Nearly half of the areas in which WFP is providing food are opposition-held.


19 March 2013

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the urgent need for a political solution to end the crisis in Syria which over the past two years has claimed over 70,000 lives and led to a dire humanitarian crisis. “We all need to inject urgency towards reaching a political solution while there is still time to prevent Syria’s complete destruction,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. (..) Mr. Ban called on the region and the international community, in particular the Security Council, to find unity and lend its full support to the efforts of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, to help the Syrian people reach a political solution to the conflict.


14 March 2013

A U.N. official says the number of registered Syrian refugees has jumped by more than 10 percent in just one week as part of an escalating exodus. Last week, the U.N. refugee agency said the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and North Africa had reached 1 million. Agency spokeswoman Reem Alsalem said on Thursday that 121,000 have registered since then.


13 March 2013

Two million children in Syria have become the victims of bloody conflict, with many swept up in violence, and suffering from trauma, malnutrition and disease, a report says. The catastrophic war in Syria has caused a "collapse in childhood", Save the Children warned on Wednesday. (..) The report, Childhood Under Fire, was launched to coincide with the second anniversary of Syria's anti-Assad uprising.


12 March 2013

Amid rising deaths among the Palestinian refugee population in Syria and funding shortfalls for humanitarian assistance in the war-torn country, a senior United Nations official today urged international donors to step up their financial support for relief efforts in what he described as “a messy, violent and tragic war for the civilian population.” In an interview with the UN News Centre, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), Filippo Grandi, warned that providing access and resources to the 500,000 Palestinian refugees trapped in Syria were among the “most urgent” priorities but could only be achieved with appropriate financing from the international community.


11 March 2013

The number of Syrian refugees, who already total more than 1 million, could double or even triple this year if the conflict continues unabated, the United Nations top refugee official said Sunday. “If this escalation goes on … and nothing happens to solve the problem, we might have in the end of the year a much larger number of refugees, two or three times the present level,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told reporters in Ankara, Turkey. (..) He urged the international community to work toward ending the conflict and said that continued war carries the “risk of an explosion” throughout the volatile region.