90% people in NW Syria in catastrophic circumstances: UN


The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that more than 90 per cent of the 3.4 million people in northwest Syria are in extreme or catastrophic circumstances amidst a deteriorating humanitarian situation.

In a statement on Monday, the OCHA said there are 13.4 million people in need throughout Syria, who have suffered from a decade of conflict, economic crisis and now Covid-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

Some of the most vulnerable Syrians are those who are in the northwest.

Of the 3.4 million people in need, more than 90 per cent are assessed to be in extreme or catastrophic need — particularly the 2.7 million internally displaced.

Most of the displaced are pressed against the border with Turkey in over 1,000 camps and informal settlements.

The only access for the world body to these millions of people in northwest Syria is through the UN Security Council-authorized cross-border operation at Bab al-Hawa, the humanitarian office said.

It is the last remaining UN entry point for transporting assistance to northwest Syria.

“Bab al-Hawa is a last lifeline preventing a humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people in Syria,” OCHA said in the statement.

“Despite ongoing efforts to deliver a small number of trucks cross-line from Damascus, there remains no alternative to delivering aid at this scale and with this scope.”

About 1,000 UN aid trucks cross from Turkey into northwest Syria to reach 2.4 million people monthly, the humanitarian office said.

Only 979 trucks travelled into Syria from Turkey in May. But they carried critical support for food needs, livelihoods, nutrition and health.

The first batch of more than 53,000 COVAX vaccines for northwest Syria from Turkey arrived in April, and the vaccination program began on May 1, OCHA said.

Other vaccines and health items regularly cross to support hospitals and primary health centres in the area.