Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 23 APR 2014
11:48 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
UN refugee agency 'prepared' for Syrian winter
Agence France Presse
In this Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 photo, Syrian refugee children stand in line before attending class at the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)
In this Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 photo, Syrian refugee children stand in line before attending class at the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)
A+ A-

GENEVA: The UN refugee agency said Friday it was ready for the Syrian winter but the real problem was helping victims of the fighting within Syria itself.

"We are at a very great state of preparedness ... we can take this hugely seriously," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Although the conflict began in March last year, far fewer people needed help over the first winter than is the case now, Fleming told reporters in Geneva.

By the end of the year the UNHCR expects there to be up to 700,000 refugees, Fleming said.

"The figures have shot up after the first winter, the real crisis began in the spring ... internal displacement has got dramatically worse over the last six months," she added.

The majority of refugees now coming forward for help had fled at the start of the conflict and had exhausted their cash reserves, Fleming explained.

In addition, 2-3,000 refugees continue to flee across Syria's borders every day, reinforcing the need to refurbish shelters and make refugees' tents as comfortable as possible, the UNHCR spokeswoman added.

"It's awful to be a refugee, it's awful to live in a tent when it's cold outside," she said "We have to make these tents as comfortable as possible."

As part of its $64 million (49.4 million euro) winter contingency plan for Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, the UNHCR is to distribute blankets, clothing, prefabricated housing and cash to refugees.

The problems are at their worst in Syria itself, Fleming added, where around 1.2 million people are displaced, sometimes more than once.

"For the people (in Syria), this is where the most suffering remains, the most fear," she said, adding that a lack of electricity and heating could drive yet more people to flee the country in search of shelter.

The agency aims to target 500,000 Syrians inside the country in the next three months as part of its $32.4 million (25 million euro) "Keeping Families Warm" initiative, Fleming said.

But it has struggled to extend its help beyond urban areas because of the "terrible violence" that marks the 19-month-old conflict.

"We can brag about the number of people reached in the hundreds of thousands or millions, but this is a fraction of what is needed," she said.

For its part, the World Food Programme told reporters it had distributed food to 1.5 million people in September in 14 Syrian governorates and that it was about to launch a voucher system for refugees in Turkey.

"The food is there," said a WFP spokeswoman.

The UNHCR also made a global appeal for countries to "keep their borders open" and "be receptive" to Syrian asylum seekers. Countries neighbouring Syria had taken the "bulk" of the demand, Fleming said, with 18,000 asylum applications submitted so far in Europe.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Syria / Turkey / Lebanon / Iraq / Jordan
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS