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Worst yet to come for Syrians as humanitarian situation deteriorates

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United Nations leaders appealed again today for help for the suffering war victims in Syria. With the civil war escalating the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.

The joint appeal was issued today from leaders of the UN humanitarian agencies including UNICEF, the World Food Programme, UNHCR, OCHA and the World Health Organization. They warned, "for the civilians remaining in the cities of Aleppo and the Old City of Homs, as well as other parts of the country experiencing heavy fighting, the worst days seem yet to come."

Across all of Syria there are at least 9 million who are impacted by the fighting. In Aleppo alone there are about one million now in need of help as fighting has intensified. Millions of others have already fled to neighboring countries and need assistance too.

Syrians are being killed by the artillery fire of the combatants. There is very little medical care available for those wounded. In Aleppo there are about 40 doctors for around 2.5 million people. Resources are scarce, further limiting treatment.

Hunger, malnutrition and water shortages continue. There is a complete breakdown of basic services. Aid groups are not able to access all those in need because roads are blocked by the fighting.

The UN leaders appealed today for the military forces to allow aid groups to reach the suffering. The appeal concluded,

"Thus far, diplomatic efforts designed to end years of suffering have failed. What have not failed are the courage and determination of extraordinary Syrian civilians to survive. Can those with the responsibility and the power and the influence to stop this terrible, tragic war find the same courage? The same will? For if the civilians of Syria have not given up, how can the world give up on its efforts to save them - and save Syria?"

The international community needs to help find an end to the conflict, and press for humanitarian access. In addition, the world needs to ensure that humanitarian agencies are funded so they have the supplies to provide life-saving aid. Already, there have been cases where WFP has reduced food rations because of low funding.

The UN appeal was signed by Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF, António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme, and Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization.

You can read the full statement here.

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