UN calls for £3.2bn aid for Syria in biggest ever humanitarian appeal as civil war expected to hit 10 million people

Target for humanitarian aid at record high as Geneva predicts civil war will hit 10 million people

The UN has launched an appeal for £3.2bn – the largest in its history – for “urgent humanitarian aid” within Syria and for its neighbouring states, where refugees from the escalating civil war have fled.

According to the latest UN figures, more than 10 million Syrians, half the population, will need assistance over the next six months. And the UN children’s agency, Unicef, estimates four million children already require urgent humanitarian help.

The revised aid budget for the Middle East refugee crisis presents the UN with serious difficulties because the previous aid target of $1.5bn, to cover the first six months of the year, has yet to be fully met. 

Although $1.2bn has now been contributed, an investigation by The Independent last month revealed that following a special aid conference held in Kuwait in January, a large shortfall in pledges from Syria’s wealthy oil-rich neighbours was creating a crisis for the UN’s World Food Programme’s efforts in refugee camps.

UN officials have admitted they may, once again, face difficulties in raising the record aid funds they are now asking for. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the WFP, who is in London attending a global nutrition summit, told The Independent that “access to refugees” was now the main objective, given large parts of Syria are still no-go areas for relief agencies.

The Security Council is urging Syria to allow UN and other humanitarian groups into the strategic town of Qusayr, where civilians had become trapped by fighting between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebel groups. The regime, which retook the town on Wednesday, had vowed to allow aid groups in to deliver food and medicine when fighting ceased.

Following the capture of Qusayr, Assad’s forces, aided by Hezbollah fighters, have directed efforts toward driving rebels from Homs and Aleppo.

The $5bn (£3.2bn) appeal was launched by the UN in Geneva. It said it had revised the scale of what was needed because of the worsening security situation. The UN’s Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Baroness Valerie Amos, said: “Between January and April, the number of people displaced in Syria more than doubled. These are massive figures, but those figures mask a human tragedy.”

The UN now expects refugees numbers, currently at 1.5 million, to rise to 3.5 million before the end of 2013. But  medium-term UN estimates say the war’s effects will eventually involve seven million Syrians within their country, and millions more who have fled over its borders.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, told reporters that camps were currently receiving 7,000 new arrivals every day. “Funding Syria’s humanitarian needs is a matter not only of generosity but enlightened self-interest,” he said.

Camps in Lebanon and Jordan are housing half a million refugees. Their governments were involved in the UN appeal and have ask for $800m (£515m) to help meet the growing costs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive - Hair & Beauty - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company supplies the ultim...

Recruitment Genius: Design, Marketing and Media Manager

£27000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence