News / Middle East

Report: Syria Most Expensive ICRC Humanitarian Operation

FILE - Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley receive humanitarian aid from the ICRC, October 16, 2012.FILE - Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley receive humanitarian aid from the ICRC, October 16, 2012.
x
FILE - Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley receive humanitarian aid from the ICRC, October 16, 2012.
FILE - Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley receive humanitarian aid from the ICRC, October 16, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
— Syria has moved ahead of Afghanistan to become the International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC) most expensive humanitarian operation this year followed by Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ICRC says this shift in position reflects the increased needs of the Syrian population as the crisis in that country continues to escalate. The ICRC has just launched its 2012 annual report in Geneva.
 
Last year, the International ICRC spent more than $1 billion assisting millions of people in 80 countries. It says many of the emergencies and protracted crises to which it responded continue to devastate lives in 2013. 
 
One of the most dramatic examples of this is Syria, which has moved up from fifth place in 2012 to become the agency's costliest operation this year. 
 
ICRC President Peter Maurer says the escalating armed conflict in Syria has caused unprecedented suffering and extraordinary violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. He says the situation in Syria is particularly serious because all parties are guilty of, what he calls, patterns of violations of international humanitarian law.
 
"I am not of the opinion that this is happening by chance. Patterns of violations happen because of a political climate of permissiveness and unaccountability," he said. "What is happening at the present moment in and around Syria politically is a space in which each and every side is encouraged to win militarily over the other.  And, because it is encouraged to win over the other, it is encouraged to violate international humanitarian law." 
 
The report says the deteriorating security situation in many parts of the world is creating significant challenges for Red Cross workers. Maurer says 2012 was the most difficult year since 2003 and 2005 when an ICRC delegate was murdered in Pakistan and another staff member was killed in Yemen. 
 
Maurer says health care workers whose job it is to save lives run into many dangers. Some of these stem from, what he calls, the weaponization of certain facilities.

"Hospitals, but also schools, churches, mosques are attacked and some groups and fighters misuse hospitals, schools, mosques, churches and other religious installations to bring arms into those installations, which make them again susceptible to military attack," he said.
 
Maurer says aid agencies are doing their best to respond to the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.  But, he notes there is a huge discrepancy between the ability to cope with the Syrian crisis and the escalating speed with which the demands are growing.
 
The ICRC president says it is relatively easy for the agency to raise money for high-profile operations, such as Syria and Mali. But, he notes it is increasingly difficult to find funding for humanitarian activities in the world's forgotten tragedies.These include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Somalia.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid