SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

WHO and other humanitarian agencies release statement on Syria

Political leaders should meet their responsibility to residents of Syria by finding a political solution to a crisis that killed more than 70,000 people, according to a recent statement from multiple humanitarian organizations.

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, U.N. Children's Fund Executive Director Anthony Lake and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres issued the statement on Monday. The humanitarian officials said their organizations have done what they can to support the people of Syria during a time of need.

"With the support of many governments and people, we have helped shelter more than a million refugees," the officials said. "We have helped provide access to food and other basic necessities for millions displaced by the conflict, to water and sanitation to over 5.5 million affected people in the Syrian Arab Republic and in neighboring countries, and to basic health services for millions of Syrians, including vaccinations to over 1.5 million children against measles and polio. But it has not nearly been enough."

The officials said the needs are growing as the capacity of their organizations are decreasing because of practical limitations and funding constraints. The statement appealed for all involved in the brutal conflict and all governments with influence to save the people of Syria.

"We, leaders of U.N. agencies charged with dealing with the human costs of this tragedy, appeal to political leaders involved to meet their responsibility to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic and to the future of the region," the officials said. "We ask that they use their collective influence to insist on a political solution to this horrendous crisis before hundreds of thousands more people lose their homes and lives and futures-in a region that is already at the tipping point."

After more than two years of conflict, more than 70,000 people in Syria are dead and more than five million people were forced to leave their homes.

"In the name of all those who have so suffered, and the many more whose futures hang in the balance: Enough!" the officials said. "Summon and use your influence, now, to save the Syrian people and save the region from disaster."