News / Middle East

UN: Better Aid Access Needed to Nearly 3 Million Syrians

FILE - Humanitarian chief Valeria Amos listens a news conference after the seventh Syrian Humanitarian Forum at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, February 2013.
FILE - Humanitarian chief Valeria Amos listens a news conference after the seventh Syrian Humanitarian Forum at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, February 2013.
Margaret Besheer
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is urging greater access for humanitarian workers in Syria, saying only “modest progress” has been made in recent months in reaching some of the nearly 3 million people in besieged areas.

Valerie Amos has made numerous trips to the region and has met with all influential parties over many months in an attempt to remove obstacles to the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid across Syria.

In October, the 15-nation U.N. Security Council was able for the first time to agree on anything having to do with the crisis, calling for better access for aid agencies.

On Tuesday, Amos updated a closed meeting of the council on the situation in Syria. Afterwards, she told reporters there has been “modest progress” in the granting of visas for aid workers and noted the Syrian government’s decision to allow the U.N. three more aid hubs within the country, raising the total to six. She said improvements in other areas, however, have been insufficient.

“However, I did remind the council that on some of the more difficult areas - protection of civilians, demilitarization of schools and hospitals, access to besieged communities and also cross-line access to hard-to-reach areas - we have not seen any progress on those,” said Amos.

She said about a quarter of a million people are in communities that aid workers cannot reach at all, while 2.5 million are in difficult to reach areas that aid workers may have been to only once.

Diplomats have said that if the October council statement did not lead to satisfactory progress on the humanitarian front, the council could consider a resolution.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud, who took over the council’s rotating presidency this week, said at a news conference there is reluctance among some council members to go for a resolution ahead of peace talks scheduled for late January in Geneva.

“We have very clear messages from certain members of the council that they are willing to impose a veto even on humanitarian aid [resolution]. So it is an important issue," said  Araud. Certain members of the council believe that a crisis on the humanitarian issue could undermine Geneva II, so members of the council prefer that the debate not be opened at this point on a humanitarian resolution.”

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said his government has recently taken measures to facilitate humanitarian access, including the granting of more visas and running more aid convoys jointly with the U.N. and international aid agencies. He said these agencies may now enter Syria through Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, but not from Turkey.

The United Nations estimates that about 6.8 million people in Syria are in need of critical assistance.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More