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Joint Statement on Syria

WHO statement
16 January 2017

Ertharin Cousin
World Food Programme Executive Director

Anthony Lake
UNICEF Executive Director

Stephen O’Brien
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Dr Margaret Chan
WHO Director-General

Filippo Grandi
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

DAVOS, Switzerland – While efforts to fully implement a ceasefire in Syria continue, we again appeal for immediate, unconditional, and safe access to reach the children and families who are still cut off from humanitarian aid across the country.

In Syria today, there are 15 besieged areas where up to 700 000 people, including an estimated 300 000 children, still remain trapped. Nearly 5 million people, including more than 2 million children, live in areas that are extremely difficult to reach with humanitarian assistance due to fighting, insecurity, and restricted access.

All over Syria, people continue to suffer because they lack the most basic elements to sustain their lives – and because of the continued risk of violence. We – indeed, the world – must not stand silent while parties to the conflict continue to use denial of food, water, medical supplies, and other forms of aid as weapons of war.

Children are at heightened risk of malnutrition, dehydration, diarrhoea, infectious diseases, and injury. Many need support after being exposed to traumatic events, violence and other violations. Tragically, far too many children have known little but conflict and loss in their young lives.

The horrors of the siege of the eastern districts of Aleppo have disappeared from the public consciousness – but we must not let the needs, the lives, and the futures of Syria’s people fade from the world’s conscience.

We must not let 2017 repeat the tragedies of 2016 for Syria.

For more information please contact:

Simon Ingram
UNICEF New York
Mobile: +1 917 265 4516
Email:singram@unicef.org

Russell Geekie
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) New York
Mobile: +1 917 331 0393
Email:geekie@un.org

Gregory Härtl
WHO
Mobile: +41 79 203 6715
Email:hartlg@who.int

Jane Howard
World Food Programme
Mobile +39 346 760 0521
Email:jane.howard@wfp.org