Tuesday, 14 February 2023 15:20

Guterres calls on countries to fully fund $379 million quake appeal for Syria

The UN Secretary-General on Tuesday announced a $397 million humanitarian appeal to aid the people of earthquake-ravaged Syria, to help secure “desperately needed” relief for nearly five million people.

António Guterres told reporters outside the Security Council in New York that aid “must get through from all sides” and the funding would cover an initial period of three months.

Secretary-General @antonioguterres announces that the @UN is launching a $397 million humanitarian appeal for the people of earthquake-ravaged Syria. This will cover a period of 3 months & will help secure desperately needed, life-saving relief to nearly 5 million Syrians. https://t.co/qiAEZVXBsy

UN Spokesperson

He said a similar appeal is being finalised for survivors across the border in Türkiye.

‘Immense’ need

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, the United Nations rapidly provided $50 million through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), but the needs are immense”, he said.

“The Syria effort brings together the entire UN system and humanitarian partners and will help secure desperately needed, life-saving relief for nearly 5 million Syrians – including shelter, healthcare, food and protection.”

He said providing the relief was the most effective way for countries to help the war-shattered country, which is still in the grip of a 12-year civil war, with much of the quake zone in the northwest border region, controlled by opposition fighters, with many living there displaced multiple times and already in a state of humanitarian crisis.

“We all know that lifesaving aid has not been getting in at the speed and scale needed”, the UN chief said, with millions of people “struggling for survival, homeless and in freezing temperatures.”

‘Doing all we can’

We are doing all we can to change this but much more is needed” he declared.

“I have an urgent message to the international community: the human suffering from this epic natural disaster should not be made even worse by manmade obstacles - access, funding, supplies.

Emergency and search-and-rescue teams have deployed to assess and prioritize urgent needs and to provide life-saving assistance following the devastating earthquake near the Türkiye-Syria border.

Aid must get through from all sides, to all sides, through all routes - without any restrictions”, he emphasized, noting that following Syria’s assurances last night, two extra crossings were now open to allow more aid into the northwest.

“As we speak, an 11-truck convoy is on the move to cross through Bab Al-Salam with many more to come”, he said.

Time for ‘concerted action’

He called on all Member States, and others in the donor community, “to fully fund this effort without delay and help the millions of children, women and men whose lives have been upended by this generational disaster.

“This is a moment for unity, for common humanity and concerted action.

No restrictions

Asked if a Security Council resolution was needed to cement the bilateral agreement between the United Nations and Syrian authorities, Mr. Guterres said the reality was that the crossings were open, and movement was taking place.

Replying to another question about having to negotiate with military opposition leaders in the northwest beyond the control of Syrian authorities, he repeated his call for all aid corridors to be opened, “without restrictions”.

© UNHCR/Hameed Maarouf
Families shelter at a mosque in the Al-Midan district of Aleppo, Syria, which has been turned into a collective shelter.