UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria is getting worse, in his report to the UN Security Council.
Guterres said in the Monday, Dec. 12 report that millions of Syrians will not be able to survive the winter if Turkey’s aid shipments to northwest Syria are not renewed next month.
He said cross-border aid in the northwest remains an “indispensable part” of humanitarian operations to reach all those in need.
The Security Council requested a report from the Secretary-General on Syria’s humanitarian needs in last July’s resolution, which expanded the delivery of food, medicine and other basic aid through the “Bab al-Hawa” from Turkey to northwest Syria, for a period of six months until January 10.
According to the UN report, 7.5 million people live mainly in the north, with a small number in the “Rukban” camp in the southeast, and 6.8 million of them are in need of humanitarian assistance due to hostilities and large-scale displacement.
He explained that the already bad situation was exacerbated by the spread of “cholera” across the country, as well as the “emerging coronavirus” (Covid-19), the deterioration of the economy, the climate and other adverse shocks. of human origin, as he said. According to a report by Enab Baladi
Due to these challenges, Guterres expects 15.3 million people out of a total population of 22.1 million to require humanitarian assistance in 2023, up from 14.6 million in 2022.
The report also indicates a 48% increase in acute malnutrition among children aged six months to five years in 2022 compared to 2021.
He pointed out that at least 25% of children under five in some regions are stunted and at risk of irreversible damage to their physical and cognitive development, in addition to “recurrent infections, stunted growth, disabilities and death.
Guterres pleaded for Bab al-Hawa to remain open to UN assistance and warned that “stopping cross-border deliveries in the middle of the winter months risks leaving millions of Syrians without the assistance needed to withstand the weather”.
He said cross-border aid “remains a lifeline for millions of people” and that the Security Council’s renewal of the resolution authorizing the transfer to continue is not only “decisive”, but a “duty moral and humanitarian”.
There are 4.1 million people in northwestern Syria, 80% of whom are women and children, out of an estimated 4.6 million people who need humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs , according to the Associated Press.