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.

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
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

DT Teacher - Textiles

£100 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We urgently require a DT t...

Year 1 Teacher for long term roles starting in September

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Year 6 Teachers needed for long term and day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 5 Teachers needed for various roles across Berkshire

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week