GENEVA: The UN-backed Syrian Humanitarian Forum launched an appeal on Friday for more countries to give aid to alleviate the suffering in conflict-torn Syria.
“We are in a crisis mode, we are in an emergency mode,” said John Ging, chairman of the forum that groups different UN agencies’ aid efforts.
“We have authorised our operations to the maximum with the funds available. We urgently need additional resources to be able to cope with the situation.”
Ging said some 2.5 million people were in need of aid in Syria — twice the number given in March.
More than 1.2 million, over half of them children, have become internally displaced, and 250,000 have fled to neighbouring countries, some 100,000 of them last month alone.
“There are too few donors,” he stressed after the forum’s fifth meeting since the violence erupted 18 months ago. “The base of donors has to be broadened. Now there is just a handful of countries.”
Participants also stressed the danger facing aid workers in the conflict zone, and the need to improve access to people in need, said a source with knowledge about the closed session.
The United States said Wednesday it would boost Syria aid to over $100 million.
Of this, $14.3 million would be food aid inside Syria and $6.7 million would help Syrian refugees abroad, said the State Department.
Washington is already providing $48.5 million to the UN World Food Programme, $23.1 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and funding to non-government groups, UNICEF and the Red Cross.
The European Commission meanwhile announced the release of another 50 million euros in humanitarian aid to help Syrian civilians caught up in the worsening violence between rebels and the Damascus regime.
The latest aid, which still needs the green light from the European Parliament, brings the total aid available from the Commission to 119 million euros ($152 million) and the EU contribution in all to 200 million euros, which amounts to half of all international help offered so far.