The Latest News from Syria Relief
By Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive
Sadly, I have been marking this day, March 15th, every year for 10 years now. This is the day where we commemorate the start of the Syrian conflict. Today marks a decade since the war started.
I couldn’t have imagined, when I first started commemorating this date, that I would still be doing so 10 years later. But as we reach this milestone, now, I cannot imagine when I will stop having to commemorate this date.
For the suffering of the Syrian people, over 80% now live in poverty, 13.4 million people in Syria now need some form of humanitarian aid, this is more than three times the number in 2012.
13 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes over this decade, that represents 60% of the country’s estimated population. 7 million Syrians are internally displaced, the largest number in the world. There are 6.6 million Syrian refugees, making up a quarter of the world’s total population of refugees.
5 million children have been born in Syria since the conflict began and have never known a life beyond this war. 2.5 million children in Syria are out of school as over a third of the country’s schools cannot be used. Some children are working 12 hours a day just to buy some bread or vegetables.
Since the war began, an average of 2 aid workers and 8 medical personnel have been killed every month.
I hope these numbers give you a sense of the scale of the human suffering in Syria, worse than it has ever been. But please keep in mind every one of these numbers is a person. A mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, or grandparent. They aren’t numbers, they are humans, with stories and pain.
But aid agencies like Syria Relief can only mitigate their pain, we can’t stop it. We are treating the symptoms of a political disease. We can only paper over the cracks until a political solution is found.
For, it is a sad fact that, unless there is a sustainable, durable political resolution in Syria, we will have to keep having these commemorations on March 15th, we will have to keep talking about the spiraling humanitarian needs and the growing death toll.
One day, I hope we no longer need to talk about how many years the Syrian people have been suffering. But I am afraid that day is not today. And that day is not near.
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We, 10 of the leading charities working in Syria, would like to express our concerns that the UK government, announced that its aid budget to Syria will be £205 million