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Irish NGOs express relief at decision to keep open vital humanitarian border crossing to Syria
A group of Irish humanitarian aid organisations have expressed relief that the only border crossing allowing humanitarian aid between Turkey and north-west Syria will remain open for a further 12 months following a vote by the United Nations Security Council today.
The crossing at Bab al Hawa allows vital humanitarian resources such as food, shelter and medicines reach an area where more than three million people -- half of whom are children -- depend on humanitarian aid for basic necessities.
The crossing was renewed for an initial six months, with an automatic renewal for a further six dependent on the receipt of a report from the Secretary General on the status of delivery of aid within Syria.
In a statement, Concern Worldwide, GOAL, Trócaire, Oxfam Ireland and World Vision said: “ We welcome the continuation of cross-border assistance at Bab Al Hawa, which is so essential in allowing humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable people in north-west Syria. However, this resolution does not ensure continuity of humanitarian assistance, allowing us to implement longer term projects which allow people to be self-reliant and not dependent on aid. ”
“We are also deeply disappointed that given the extent of humanitarian needs, the Security Council was unable to come to a consensus around employing all existing methods for reaching people in northern Syria, including the reauthorisation of the additional Bab Al-Salam crossing to the north west and the Al-Yaroubiah crossing to the north east”
Both crossings have been closed over the last 20 months through different Security Council resolutions, putting further pressure on Bab al Hawa.
The statement added: “All methods of delivering humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable Syrians everywhere in the country must be fully used. Humanitarian needs are peaking to the highest levels seen in the course of Syria’s 10-year war—increasing by a staggering 20% over the last 12 months alone.”
“The ongoing conflict and economic crisis in the region coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic has led to record levels of food insecurity and economic hardship. COVID-19 continues to spread at an alarming rate while the healthcare infrastructure, decimated by years of conflict, remains woefully inadequate to respond.”
Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, an estimated half a million people have been killed while over 16 million have been displaced, either as refugees or within Syria itself. The price of food has more than tripled in that time, with 13.4 million people within Syria in need of humanitarian assistance.
For more information, contact Eilis Staunton, Media Relations officer with Concern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 085 8720720.
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