Syria: 35 INGO and Syrian NGOs demanding unfettered access and massive scale-up of humanitarian response

Published: Feb 14, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Earthquake drone footage from Armanaz, NWS.
© Foto: People in Need

NGOs working in Syria have called for an urgent scale-up in support and for immediate action to be taken to secure humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the earthquake in Syria. The humanitarian response must match the scale of the disaster.

International NGOs working in Syria are calling for an urgent scale-up and immediate action to ensure humanitarian assistance to the population affected by the earthquake in Syria. The humanitarian response must match the scale of the disaster.

As Turkiye and Syria mark one week since the seismic earthquake, it is with great sorrow that we report that as no additional equipment or personnel have been sent to NWS, the local rescue teams could only search 5% of the affected areas. Because of this, 95% of all destroyed buildings were not searched in time to save any potential survivors trapped under the rubble. The international community failed the Syrian people by not reacting fast enough and not supporting the search and rescue teams.

Conscious that this natural disaster has impacted the ongoing humanitarian response to the local conflict, we express our deep admiration and support to the humanitarian organizations, volunteers and all humanitarian workers on the ground who are shouldering the response while being affected themselves.

Casualties in Syria: 6,500 killed and 10,000 injured

The UN estimates that over 6,500 have been killed and 10,000 injured in all areas of Syria. Millions have lost their homes and are experiencing a new sense of displacement after already experiencing 12 long years of war and trauma. These numbers are likely to rise in the coming weeks. The general lack of resources and equipment available to the rescue teams in the affected areas has already led to the loss of many lives.

NGOs are extremely concerned that the current level of response is nowhere near what is needed in face of such devastation. Seven days into the crisis, NGOs reiterate that a significant scale-up of efforts is needed in order to ensure unimpeded access to all affected areas of Syria through all means possible in order to save lives and reduce suffering.

What is needed is more assistance, more access, and more funding

We need the international community to understand that the suffering of Syrians across the region, and their constantly worsening needs over the last 12 years of this protracted crisis, have not gone away. The earthquake has brought new suffering, increased the number of people in need, exacerbated existing needs, and hampered the ongoing response. We see new unaccompanied children, collective shelters and existing camps full of people with no food, no water, no blankets and no heating options. What is needed is more assistance, more access, and more funding. Redirecting existing resources and funding from other parts of Syria is NOT the solution. This will only pit communities against each other, create more competition over inadequate funding, increase gaps in the overall response, and undo what vital progress has already been made. We need immediate, flexible new funding to reach the humanitarian community as fast as possible.

NGOs call for the international community to stay above politics, put humanitarian needs first and move forward with an urgent and immediate scale-up of the humanitarian support in order to relieve the suffering of affected populations and support those helping them.

Autor: People in Need

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