U.N. seeks $1.5 billion to help suffering Syrians

Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:25pm EST
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations appealed on Wednesday for $1.5 billion to help save the lives of millions of Syrians suffering a "dramatically deteriorating" humanitarian situation.

The twin appeals are for $519.6 million to help 4 million people within Syria and $1 billion to meet the needs of up to 1 million Syrian refugees in five other countries until July 2013.

The United Nations said they comprised the "largest short-term humanitarian appeal ever", but still fell some way short of a comprehensive relief plan.

"The violence in Syria is raging across the country and there are nearly no more safe areas where people can flee and find safety," Radhouane Nouicer, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, told a news briefing in Geneva.

Noting that Syria's capital Damascus was the scene of "daily shelling and bombing", he added: "It is a realistic appeal that takes into consideration what we commit ourselves to achieve. It is not a comprehensive response plan, it is limited to what we can do in such a difficult operating environment."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on countries to respond generously to the appeals presented to donor governments in Geneva as winter takes hold in the region.

"I'm considering convening an international donor conference, in close coordination with key partners, early next year," he told reporters in New York.


Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their towns are seen at their temporary home in a school at Tel Abyed near Hasaka December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Samer Al-Abdullah/Shaam News Network/Handout