Syria: UN official seeks unhindered access for aid workers

United Nations, March 29 (IANS/WAM) The UN emergency relief coordinator has warned the Security Council that as the Syrian civil war grinds on and millions of desperate people remain cut off from aid, the humanitarian situation will remain bleak.

Valerie Amos, who is also the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that “the humanitarian situation remains bleak, and will continue to be bleak, unless we are granted full and unhindered access, through the most efficient and direct means”.

She spoke to the press Friday after briefing Council members on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on implementation of the key elements of Resolution 2139 (2014), which focused on humanitarian access to besieged and hard-to-reach areas, including across conflict lines and across borders, and the expansion of humanitarian relief operations.

She said while the Council’s resolution had demanded an end to the fighting and enhanced access for aid and relief workers, the situation for desperate civilians had not changed and the violence had only intensified in the four weeks since the text’s adoption, with many people killed and injured.

“Moreover, since Feb 22, some 300 cases of sexual violence have been recorded in Damascus and Rural Damascus alone,” she said.

“I am also very concerned that hundreds of thousands of people have been newly displaced from areas like eastern Aleppo and Yabroud in the south – driving them further from the reach of humanitarian assistance,” she added.

“Only six per cent of the people living in besieged areas have received assistance in the past month,” she said.