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.

 

Iraq launches operation to drive ‘Islamic State’ from Anbar

Libya militias trap civilians in Benghazi

Pro-government fighters retake Yemen city from Shiite rebels

Israel warplanes strike Gaza after rocket attack

Morocco's majestic cedars threatened by climate change

EU border agency plans to expand migrant rescue operation

Syria state TV blames ‘foreign enemies’ for signal jamming

Palestinians and jihadists clash in Yarmouk

Iraq refugees forced back into conflict zones

Kuwait restores Islamist lawmaker's citizenship

Washington Post reporter goes on trial behind closed doors in Iran

New airport in restive eastern Turkey

Iran ‘thwarts’ US cyber attack on Oil Ministry’

Egypt opens border crossing with Gaza for 48 hours

Litany of problems keep Iraqi army weak and ineffective

Rouhani: most Iranians favour peace

Iran Foreign Minister discusses Yemen conflict in neutral Oman

Palestinians dismiss Netanyahu initiative

Three Moroccans jailed for homosexuality

Oxfam: 16 million Yemenis have no access to clean water

US, Iraq at loggerheads over Ramadi

Soldier kills comrades in Tunisia barracks shooting

Netanyahu names rightist ally as new Foreign Ministry chief

Iraq rejects US criticism of security forces over defeat in Ramadi

Hezbollah captures hilltops from Qaeda wing in Syria

Saudi Shiites hold mass funeral for victims of mosque bombing

Sudan targets newspapers in major media crackdown

Iran looks forward to total lifting of sanctions

Syria regime launches air raids around Palmyra

Hezbollah urges broad support for ‘existential battle’ in Syria

Fierce fighting rocks Yemen as peace hopes fade out

Olmert sentenced to eight months for corruption

Nobel Prize-winning John Nash killed in car crash

Fukushima nuclear plant wins Qatar contract

Blow to Yemen peace efforts as UN conference postponed

US accuses Iraq forces lacking will to fight IS

Weakened by war, Syria regime appears ready for ‘de facto partition’

Iran army ‘needs bigger budget to counter IS’

Saudi Shiites refuse to be provoked by deadly mosque bombing

Iran denies agreement on inspection of military sites

Emirati aid shipment arrives in Yemen port city of Aden

GCC denies air campaign against IS terrorists has failed

Tripoli leaders use migrant issue as they yearn for recognition

‘Islamic State’ takes full control of Iraq-Syria border crossing

Saudi king vows to punish those behind bombing at Shiite mosque