Red Cross: Syria on verge of catastrophe in winter

Red Cross: Syria on verge of catastrophe in winter
Tue Dec 3, 2013 15:48:23

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has warned that one million people in Syria remain without food.

“A conservative estimate is a million people without food,” said a senior Red Cross official on Monday.

Simon Eccleshall, crisis management chief of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), also stated that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), a local member of the IFRC, only has access to “about 85 percent of the territory in Syria on a regular basis.”

SARC can provide supplies to just half of the six million Syrians who have been forced to leave their homes but are still in the country, Eccleshall added.

The Red Cross official said a catastrophe could occur in winter, particularly in areas with severe violence, and that the number of people needing aid could spiral.

Meanwhile, Benoit Carpentier, an IFRC spokesman, has said that there are several areas in Syria that have not been “supplied for months due to the conflict and suburbs around Damascus for almost a year.”

“Obviously, the worst situation is in besieged areas and areas with severe violence. One should also remember that many have not had any income for more than two years. Female-headed households is another big group facing food insecurity,” Carpentier stated.

SARC has 3,000 volunteers in Syria, 32 of whom have been killed in the conflict.

The IFRC under-secretary general, Walter Cotte, says the main challenge for the organization is the normalization of the situation for many Syrians.

“We need to really highlight that there is a big humanitarian crisis killing people every day,” Cotte said.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.


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