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UN's Humanitarian Chief to Step Down

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos speaks at a news conference on Ebola at the United Nations in Geneva, Sept. 16, 2014.

The U.N. secretary-general announced Wednesday that his humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, will step down from her post at the end of March next year.

Amos took up her post in September 2010, just months before the Syria crisis erupted. With half that country’s population now displaced or refugees, it has become one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises, and a prime focus for Amos and her staff.

Crises in Africa, including in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, as well as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year, have further stretched an already overextended humanitarian system.

Amos has been responsible for the oversight of all emergencies requiring U.N. humanitarian assistance. She also is the point person for governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental relief activities.

In a statement, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon thanked her for her “outstanding service,” noting she has worked “tirelessly” for people around the world affected by disaster and conflict.

No reason was given for Amos’ decision to step down, or what she might do next. She has been in her post for more than four years. Under Secretary-General Ban’s tenure, senior U.N. officials have been encouraged to move to other positions within the organization or leave after five years in a particular position.