UNITED STATES NEWS

UN warns that 90% of Syrians are below the poverty line, while millions face cuts in food aid

Jun 29, 2023, 1:25 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Thursday that the 12-year conflict in Syria has pushed 90% of its population below the poverty line, and that millions face cuts in food aid next month because of a funding shortfall.

Martin Griffiths said that the $5.4 billion U.N. humanitarian appeal for Syria – the world’s largest – is only 12% funded, meaning that emergency food aid for millions of Syrians could be cut by 40% in July.

Griffiths delivered the grim news to the U.N. Security Council along with an appeal to members to renew the authorization for the delivery of aid to the country’s rebel-held northwest from Turkey, which expires July 10.

But Russia’s U.N. ambassador, whose country is Syria’s most important ally, called the cross-border aid deliveries “a zero-sum game” that is undermining Syria’s sovereignty, discriminating against government-controlled territory, and fueling illegal armed groups including “terrorists in Idlib.”

Syria’s uprising-turned conflict, now in its 13th year, has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half of its prewar population of 23 million. A deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked large swaths of Syria in February, further compounding its misery.

Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs who returned Wednesday from Damascus, said the Syrian people are facing “profound humanitarian challenges.” He said they were gathering Thursday on the Muslim holy day Eid al-Adha “with less food on their plates, little fuel in their stoves, and limited water in their homes” and their hardship comes at a time when the U.N. and its humanitarian partners have limited means to help.

Russia’s Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the emergency humanitarian appeal for $397 million to help earthquake victims was funded in the first months, but the overall U.N. appeal for Syria was only 12% funded near the end of June. And he accused the U.S. and its allies of spending far more on weapons for Ukraine than the $55 billion the U.N. is seeking for global humanitarian needs this year, saying “this lays out Western priorities very clearly.”

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward retorted that the U.K.’s $190 million pledge on June 15 brought their contribution to Syria to over $4.8 billion to date and said: “I look forward to Russia announcing its contribution in due course following the recent announcement that Russia spends $2 billion a year on the Wagner Group.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, after the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and his forces staged a revolt inside Russia, that Wagner and its founder had received almost $2 billion from the Russian government in the past year.

Woodward, who visited the Turkish-Syria border earlier this month, echoed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a 12-month extension of the authorization for cross-border aid deliveries to ensure humanitarian access to 4.1 million people in Syria’s northwest.

In January, the council approved a resolution extending humanitarian aid deliveries to Idlib for six months until July 10 as Russia demanded. Many of the people sheltering in the area have been internally displaced by the conflict. The resolution allowed for aid deliveries to continue through the Bab al-Hawa crossing, but after the earthquake Syria’s President Bashar Assad allowed aid to go through two additional crossings at Bab al-Salameh and al-Rai.

U.S. deputy ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, who said the United States made its largest commitment to Syria of $920 million on June 15, called it “essential” to keep all three crossings open for 12 months. He cited Guterres’ latest report which said anything less would be inadequate to meet humanitarian needs in the northwest which have never been greater. The U.N. chief called it “a moral and humanitarian imperative.”

Russia and Syria have pressed for aid deliveries to the northwest across conflict lines and U.N. aid chief Griffiths said a 10-truck convoy from Aleppo recently traveled from Aleppo to Idlib safely, with aid for some 22,000 people. But Russia’s Nebenzia dismissed it as the only cross-line delivery in the last six months “clearly timed to coincide with today’s meeting.”

“Do you seriously expect us to consider the situation with cross-line convoys to be satisfactory after this?,” he asked.

Griffiths said expanding early recovery programs – another key Syrian and Russian demand – “is the humanitarian community’s best chance to support the future of the Syrian people.”

He urged a stronger international consensus on the importance of these programs and a relaxation of rules to allow not only vocational training but mentoring for young people, construction of irrigation systems without qualifying them as “development” projects, and the opening of schools regardless of whether they are described as “rehabilitated” or “reconstructed.”

United States News

Associated Press

Widespread power outages from deadly Houston storm raise new risk: hot weather

HOUSTON (AP) — As the Houston area works to clean up and restore power to thousands after deadly storms, it will do so Saturday under a smog warning and as all of southern Texas starts to feel the heat. The National Weather Service in Houston warned that with temperatures hitting around 90 degrees (32.2 C) […]

7 hours ago

north-korean-fraud...

Nick Borgia

Arizona woman accused of involvement in major North Korean fraud scheme

An Arizona woman is being prosecuted for allegedly assisting in North Korean fraud schemes to place overseas IT workers in U.S. positions.

9 hours ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

10 hours ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Missouri candidate with ties to the KKK can stay on the Republican ballot, judge rules

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A longshot Missouri gubernatorial candidat e with ties to the Ku Klux Klan will stay on the Republican ticket, a judge ruled Friday. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Cotton Walker denied a request by the Missouri GOP to kick Darrell McClanahan out of the August Republican primary. McClanahan is running […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

UN experts say South Sudan is close to securing a $13 billion oil-backed loan from a UAE company

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. experts say South Sudan is close to securing a $13 billion loan from a company in the United Arab Emirates, despite the oil-rich country’s difficulties in managing debts backed by its oil reserves. The panel of experts said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that loan documents it […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

UN warns that 90% of Syrians are below the poverty line, while millions face cuts in food aid