First Published: 2013-01-23

 

UN admits incapability: How can we provide assistance to devastated country?

 

Leader of UN mission says there is no humanitarian solution to conflict, noting that Syrians are destroying their own country.

 

Middle East Online

By Alison Tahmizian Meuse - BEIRUT

Absurd war

UN agency heads stressed on Tuesday there was "no humanitarian solution" to the Syrian conflict although the world body would do its best to help those in need, following a mission to the war-torn country.

"The plight of Syrian people is appalling, but it is exactly what you would expect after two years of unrelenting conflict. So many have died, so many have been injured, so many have had their lives destroyed. It stands out for us that Syrians are destroying their own country," said mission leader John Ging.

Ging, head of operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said: "This is a political problem. There is no humanitarian solution to the conflict.”

"The humanitarian organisations must do what we can to help people survive this. But our first appeal is to the political leadership of this world."

"If you doubt the scale of the travesty, then you should come and visit and see for yourselves. Answer to the mothers and fathers and children there who see no hope on the horizon ... you should answer to them for the political failure because they are bearing the consequences."

During their four-day mission, representatives from the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency and others traveled to the southern province of Daraa, the embattled outskirts of Damascus and across the front line in the central city of Homs.

"Our mission crossed the conflict line yesterday. We had to negotiate with the government and with the opposition leadership, and the good news is that both sides were committed to the transmittal of humanitarian aid wherever it was needed," said Ging.

"There was in fact an agreement to cease fire during the period of our mission ... If it can be done for four hours of our mission, why can't it be extended for the Syrian people by the leaderships on both sides?" he asked.

"We visited hospitals that were without basic supplies," the official said adding that "wanton destruction is taking down this country, the capacity to deliver services, the electricity network, the water network."

He responded to a demand by the opposition Syrian National Coalition that the world body cease to distribute any aid through government institutions, saying:

"The aid effort led by the UN in Syria is directed through humanitarian partners, NGOs and community-based organisations. We do not donate to the government of Syria. Full stop."

The OCHA representative called on the international community to step up its funding for the UN mission, which is seeking to help fulfill a $519 million target at an upcoming donor conference in Kuwait.

 

Yemen Huthi rebels bombed for fifth night

One day to Iran nuclear talks deadline

UN warns of horrifying Syria 'catastrophe'

UN chief in Iraq for talks with top officials

At time of war, cigar business launched in Syria

Court finds ex-Israel Premier Olmert guilty in corruption retrial

Deadly air strike hits camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen

Erdogan insists on visit to Iran despite war-of-words

Iran asks for explanation on Erdogan comments

Yemen ex-president's son sacked as ambassador to UAE

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen

Kerry presses Iran on nuclear deal before deadline

Somali pirates seize Iranian fishing vessel

Borse Dubai sells big stake in London Stock Exchange

Can Arabs form joint military force?

Libya rivals discuss UN-backed peace proposals

French President to join 'anti-terror' march in Tunis

Sisi underscores Egypt’s rights to tap Nile water

US-led coalition aircraft bomb Tikrit

Saudi warplanes strike Yemen rebels in Sanaa

Netanyahu to form Israel new government after shock victory

Turkey military responds to Kurdish attacks in southeast

Leaders see horror of air crash as investigators step up probe

Fistfight in Iraqi Kurdish parliament

Syria rebels seize ancient town of Busra Sham