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27.05.2024 | Press Release

Inaction will have devastating consequences for Syrian people, warn aid agencies

Over 100 national and international NGOs, including Welthungerhilfe, call on the Ministerial Segment of the Brussels 8 Conference to act

Four people, two of them in the uniforms of aid organizations, in a refugee camp in Syria. The surroundings consist of makeshift shelters covered with blue and white tarpaulins.
Employees of aid organizations in the Talha refugee camp in north-western Syria. The people in the region have been suffering from the civil war in Syria for 13 years and from the aftermath of the earthquake in February last year. © Welthungerhilfe

The Ministerial Segment of the Brussels 8 Conference must pave the way towards a political solution, de-escalation of violence, improved humanitarian access and adequate flexible funding to support conflict-affected Syrians across Syria and in refugee hosting countries, say over 100 national and international NGOs.

The cost of inaction is too high, while the number of people needing humanitarian assistance has reached an unprecedented 16.7 million.

To date this year, only 6.3% of required humanitarian funding for Syria has been received and NGOs warn that underfunding and short-term programs risk undermining life-saving response and longer-term, sustainable programming needed to address the worsening crisis. Stopgap measures can no longer meet the scale and complexity, as crisis-affected Syrians continue to bear the consequences.

NGOs are deeply alarmed by the escalating crisis in Syria, marked by a surge in airstrikes and a staggering number of conflict-related incidents, reaching unprecedented levels not seen since 2020. The gravity of the situation demands urgent attention and concerted efforts from the international community to address the increasing levels of critical needs among the Syrian people. Increased hostilities further exacerbate Syria's explosive ordnance crisis, with over 60% of Syrians at grave risk of injury, disability, or death.

Families face dire choices between schooling, food, and medicine. The situation is deteriorating, with loss of livelihoods, barely functioning basic services, and recurring disease outbreaks. Underfunded health facilities risk closure, depriving people of crucial care. Cuts to the World Food Programme activities have severe impacts on women and children's health and protection, as women often forgo meals to prioritize family needs, straining family dynamics and increasing domestic violence risks.

In neighboring countries, nine in 10 Syrian refugees struggle to meet basic needs. While host countries have been generous, rising anti-refugee rhetoric, restricted access to work and services, and regional socioeconomic challenges negatively impact refugees. With protection risks increasing, continued humanitarian and development support for both host communities and refugees remains critical.

The devastating impact of funding shortfalls is deeply concerning. Humanitarians are now compelled to raise the bar on vulnerability criteria just to deliver life-saving assistance. This is also directly undermining crucial early recovery and resilience programming - solutions that are more critical than ever to address the protracted nature of the Syrian crisis. While emergency aid remains absolutely vital, a thoughtful transition towards sustainable, longterm approaches is required.

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organizations in Germany and has no political or religious affiliations. It is fighting for “Zero Hunger by 2030.” Since its inception, it has provided funding of EUR 4.75 billion for more than 11,498 overseas projects in 72 countries. Welthungerhilfe follows the principle of supporting people in realizing their rights and sustainably improving their living conditions, which it implements with measures ranging from rapid disaster relief to rehabilitation to long-term development cooperation projects with national and international partner organizations.

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