Aid agencies slam UN Security Council over Syria


More than 20 organisations say Security Council has failed to implement resolutions seeking to boost humanitarian aid.

More than 20 international aid organisations have sharply criticised the United Nations Security Council, saying it has failed to implement three resolutions passed last year seeking to boost humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians.

The 21 aid groups say the resolutions have been “ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, other UN member states, and even by members of the UNSC itself”.

They said in a report released on Thursday that despite the resolutions violence in Syria has intensified, aid access has decreased and humanitarian assistance remains “chronically underfunded”.

The aid groups, including the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Handicap International, call on UN members to ensure the resolutions are fully implemented.

The report was released as Syria enters its fifth year since an uprising that has turned into civil war began in March 2011.

Another UN-backed report released on Wednesday said the war had plunged 80 percent of Syrian people into poverty, reduced life expectancy by 20 years and led to massive economic losses estimated at over $200bn since the conflict began in 2011.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research painted a devastating picture of the “systematic collapse and destruction” of Syria’s economic foundations in the report, saying the nation’s wealth, infrastructure, institutions and much of its workforce have been “obliterated”.

Loss of income

Almost three million Syrians lost their jobs during the conflict, which meant that more than 12 million people lost their primary source of income, it said, and unemployment surged from 14.9 percent in 2011 to 57.7 percent at the end of 2014.

“As huge swatches of the community have lost the opportunity to work and earn an income, just over 4 in 5 Syrians now live in poverty,” the report said. “As it has become a country of poor people, 30 percent of the population have descended into abject poverty where households struggle to meet the basic food needs to sustain bare life.”

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports from Beirut

The report said the four-year-old conflict coupled with the country’s economic disintegration and social fragmentation have resulted in a 15-percent drop in Syria’s population – from 20.87 million in 2010 to just 17.65 million at the end of last year.

Syria now has the second-largest refugee population in the world after the Palestinians, with 3.33 million people fleeing to other countries, it said. In addition, 1.55 million Syrians left the country to find work and a safer life elsewhere while 6.8 million fled their homes but remain in Syria, it said.

The report, supported by the UN Development Programme and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said that as Syria’s economy continues to deteriorate, total GDP loss is estimated at $119.7bn – accounting for 59 percent of the overall economic loss of $202.6bn by the end of 2014.

As violence intensified, it said, the number of deaths in the conflicts rose dramatically to 210,000. Together with the 840,000 wounded, this represented 6 percent of Syria’s population killed or injured during the conflict, it said.

“Equally horrendous is the silent disaster that has reduced life expectancy at birth from 75.9 years in 2010 to an estimated 55.7 years at the end of 2014, reducing longevity and life expectancy by 27 percent,” the report said.

It said education is also “in a state of collapse” with 50.8 percent of school-age children no longer attending school during 2014-2015 and almost half losing three years of schooling.

Source: Associated Press



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