Geneva [Switzerland], September 5 (ANI): Some 13.4 million Syrians throughout the beleaguered country are in need of assistance, the UN humanitarian office said on Saturday, calling for "greater access and expanded funding", to better help them.
Concluding a seven-day visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey - his first official mission in the region since assuming the function of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator - Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths stressed that "the UN needs to be able to reach people who depend on its aid both from Turkey and from within Syria".
"Humanitarians and donors must keep Syria high on our collective agenda to prevent an entire generation being lost", he underscored.
During meetings with the Syrian Foreign Minister and his deputy, Griffiths emphasized the need to expand humanitarian access, protect civilians and help Syrians envision a future for themselves.
His visit coincided with the first humanitarian cross-line operation into northwest Syria since 2017, which he welcomed as an important step to reaching more people in need with critical assistance.
Travelling to Damascus via the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), Griffiths held constructive meetings with senior government officials and the humanitarian community, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Red Crescent Societies, among others.
And in Beirut, he spoke with donors and discussed with the Deputy Prime Minister and Humanitarian Country Team, the country's fast-growing needs, including a severe fuel crisis that jeopardizes health care and safe drinking water.
During his visit, the humanitarian chief announced a USD4 million allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support an increased supply of fuel for the continued operation of essential services.
Meanwhile, the UN and its partners have developed the 2021-2022 Emergency Response Plan for Lebanon to provide life-saving humanitarian support to 1.1 million of the most vulnerable Lebanese people and migrants affected by the ongoing crisis.
The USD 378.5 million humanitarian plan complements the UN's programmes for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, which also includes Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them. (ANI)