UNSC must act to ensure Syrians lifesaving-aid access amidst pandemic

Inter-agency convoy to Duma, east Ghouta in the buffer-zone crossing the conflict line Inter-agency convoy to Duma, east Ghouta in the buffer-zone crossing the conflict line OCHA/Ghalia Seifo

02 July 2020

The UNSC resolution on cross-border aid of Syrians should be renewed to ensure vulnerable people have access to live-saving assistance

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on providing assistance for the Syrians living across the border, outside of the Syrian Government’s control will come to an end. The United Nations’s top aid official through Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock has urged the Security Council to renew and reauthorize a mechanism that provides lifesaving assistance to millions of desperate people in Northwest Syria.

The impact of COVID-19 makes even more critical to ensure the Syria cross-border resolution is renewed to operate humanitarian assistance. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reported the devastating impact of the Council’s decision in January, when aids delivered from Yaroubiya to the Northeast were cut. At least 13 health facilities are at imminent risk of closure or severe disruption to services, shipments of essential pharmaceuticals, other aid deliveries have been cut and million dollars of funding for programs has been lost.

The pandemic has caused food insecurity affecting an estimated 9.3 million people in Syria and the Northwest is considered at extremely high risk of an outbreak. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator highlighted that significant shortages of personal protective equipment and other medical items across the country remain. The World Health Organization (WHO) also cited shortages of medicines and supplied for up to 2.1 million people in the North-eastern part of the country. Furthermore, the renewal of Syria cross-border resolution is pivotal because the humanitarian actors on the field such as non-governmental organizations and health actors depend on the UN’s vital humanitarian aid access to supply critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies for health programs.

The authorization of cross-border assistance under Security Council resolution is the sole channel for the United Nations to deliver life-saving assistance to millions of people in Northwest Syria. In May 2020, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator had appealed for renewal of lifesaving cross-border aid operation outlining the need to keep the trucks rolling amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Author: Mery Ana Farida; Editor: Sara Gorelli

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