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UN calls for urgent scale-up humanitarian response in Syria

United Nations, Sat, 21 Apr 2012 ANI

United Nations, April 21 (Xinhua-ANI): A call to scale up the humanitarian response in Syria was made on Friday at the end of a humanitarian forum held in Geneva, which included UN officials, regional organizations, international, and non-governmental organizations, a UN spokesman said here.

"The top message from this meeting is that we must urgently scale-up the humanitarian response," the deputy UN spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, told reporters here during the daily news briefing.

The director of Operations at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), John Ging, led the meeting that was co-facilitated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) , the European Commission's humanitarian arm (ECHO), and the League of Arab States, that emphasized the urgent humanitarian need in the Middle Eastern country.

"Ging told media that a draft plan has been developed to help one million people over the next six months with food, medical assistance, support for basic services such as education, provisions for other emergency supplies and livelihood supplies," said del Buey.

The draft plan is proposed to help Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, as well as being a key step to strengthen operations and ensure proper coordinated response is adequate and flexible.

Ging also noted that there wasn't a sufficient humanitarian capacity in Syria to respond to the huge demand, therefore making the need for more humanitarian efforts imperative.

Additionally, the World Food Program (WFP) in conjunction with the Syrian Red Crescent, have already provided food for about 100, 000 people, these numbers are expected to double. However, it is up to the UN Security Council to decide when and if more observer missions will be deployed to Syria to further assess the situation.

The Security Council is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) on Friday.

The UN spokesman told reporters "there are seven observers (in Syria) as of right now, with two more arriving on Monday."

The UN is hoping to have about 30 observer missions come next week, he said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government has been cooperating "to a certain extent" said del uey, noting that violence is ongoing and that the situation is fragile, but "the presence of monitors was seen as very important by the UN."

Furthermore, del Buey noted that the presence of observer missions on the ground will enable the international community to have a better grasp on what's happening in Syria.

The UN observers in Syria have visited a lot of locations during the past five days, contacting Syrian military, political officials and UN humanitarian colleagues and have also been preparing the ground work for the arrival of the larger group of monitors, Ahmad Fawzi, the spokesman for Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, who have negotiated a peace plan and ceasefire to end the 13-month violence and bloodshed in the country.

The observers are reporting on a daily basis to Annan, the former UN secretary-general, and through him to the UN Headquarters in New York, Fawzi said. (Xinhua-ANI)

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