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.

 

‘Intense awareness of interests’ but no ‘perfect agreement between Egypt and US

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

Iraq TV comedian combats jihadists with laughs

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS