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World Vision sounds the alarm: Funds urgently needed to save lives in Syria

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Lauren Fisher

International News Manager
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Amman, JORDAN (June 7, 2013) — As fighting escalates in Syria, life for children caught up in the conflict continues to worsen. More than 80,000 people have been killed as a result on ongoing violence. Three million children have been affected so far, and the numbers will continue to rise as the conflict continues. As those numbers increase, the humanitarian need continues to expand faster than aid organizations’ funds to respond.

“We are frustrated by the slowness of donor and public response to the very clear needs of Syrian children. It takes too long for the money that is available to be released for the work that is needed. It is as if we have hungry children at the table and are told we cannot feed them until we have been shopping. But all the shops are shut at the moment,” said Philippe Guiton, World Vision’s response manager for the Syrian regional crisis.

On Friday, 7 June in Geneva, the United Nations will be asking donors to fund the next phase of the Syrian humanitarian response. The proposed funding would assist nearly seven million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid inside Syria, and more than 1.5 million refugees and host communities in neighboring countries. World Vision has joined with the Syria INGO Regional Forum, a group of 20 international aid agencies responding to the crisis, to call on the international community to dig deep and be generous in responding to the appeal.

“Donors must use this historic moment to put children first. It is unacceptable that they continue to suffer as they have from this crisis,” Guiton said.

The funding appeal comes as the Jordanian government has asked the United Nations to open a camp in Azraq to take pressure off the growing Za’atari camp. Currently as many as 2,000 Syrian refugees are flowing across the border of Jordan each day. The new camp is expected to accommodate an additional 100,000 refugees by the end of the year. World Vision is stepping up to assist with clean water and sanitation in the camp.

“We have the equipment and experts ready to set up water tanks and provide latrines for a portion of those arriving in Azraq camp. But, even with the planned infrastructure, it’s a hot, dry inhospitable location with many challenges,” said Guiton. “With funds for the Syrian response running low, it’s unclear where the next round of money will come from to make sure we support those who will be living in these difficult conditions, far from home.”

In response to the appeal, World Vision calls on the international donor community to:

  • Urgently fund NGOs and UN agencies engaged in child protection programming and child protection capacity building within Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) and Syria Regional Response Plan 5 (RRP 5) to alleviate further suffering of children caught up and affected by conflict;
  • Ensure aid allocations include international and local NGOs to enable fast and efficient delivery of relief, especially to the most vulnerable, and to address bureaucratic impediments to timely disbursements of aid;
  • Provide funding and assistance to refugee hosting countries in accordance with their need;
  • Stop blurring the lines between humanitarian aid, politics and military action. Humanitarian assistance should not be conflated with military aid of any form. Humanitarian aid is delivered on the basis of humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, humanity and independence.

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On-the-ground photos and interviews are available. For more information contact Lauren Fisher at +1.206.310.5476

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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/press or follow us on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews.