The UN needs roughly $4.4 billion to meet the humanitarian related to the Syrian crisis. However only $1.1 billion has been raised.
Russia, France and Qatar are all falling well short in pitching in, says a new Oxfam report – on the traditional kind of ‘aid’ anyway. Military aid is another matter ….
“Too many donor countries are not delivering the level of funds that is expected of them,” says Colette Fearon, Head of Oxfam Syria program.
“While economic times are tough, we are facing the largest man-made humanitarian disaster in two decades and we have to seriously address it. The scale of this crisis is unprecedented and some countries must start to show their concerns to the crisis in Syria by putting their hands in their pockets.”
Oxfam’s analysis shows that Russia and Qatar are only giving 3% of what is considered to be their fare share of the humanitarian appeal. France does slightly better, but is well short by providing only 47%. The three countries also happen to be providing non-humanitarian support in the form of weapons and other support in Syria. Russia is helping out the Syrian government with weapons while Qatar and France are backing the rebels.
Analysis by Reuters in August found a spike in the number of ships traveling to Syria from the Ukrainian port used by the Russian arms export monopoly. Assad is in the process of paying off more than $1.5 billion in arms contracts to Russia, said a defense industry source.
The US, Australia and Canada are among the sixteen countries that are not contributing their fair share. The eight countries that are exceeding their fair share are doing so at high levels. Kuwait comes in at 461% and Denmark hits 230%.
Oxfam’s release comes ahead of next week’s UN General Assembly where Syria will be a major topic of the discussion. UN Under-Secretary General Valerie Amos pleaded for more humanitarian funding in an OpEd for the Guardian on September 9. It came on the heels of her visit to Syria and warned of the country’s deteriorating situation.
“One mother, Jameelah, told me that her children wake up screaming, asking if someone is coming to hurt them,” wrote Amos.
Fighting continues in Syria and people are pouring out of the country. The number of refugees surpassed 2 million this month and another 1.5 million people are expected to leave Syria by the end of the year. Meanwhile, healthcare for people in Syria is coming under many pressures. Western restrictions on Syria is harming local pharmaceutical companies and will lead to shortages, warned the WHO. The country is currently relying on friendly nations such as Iran, China and Russia to access medicines.
A group of medical professionals and former Nobel prize winners called attention to the budding health crisis in Syria in an open letter for the British medical journal The Lancet. They said that medical professionals are facing shortages and personal danger as they try to maintain health services in the country.
“As doctors and health professionals we urgently demand that medical colleagues in Syria be allowed and supported to treat patients, save lives, and alleviate suﬀ ering without the fear of attacks or reprisals,” write the group led by former WHO head and Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland.
They recommend that the UN and international donors increase support for health services in all parts of Syria. Doing so and meeting the many other needs related to the Syrian crisis will require countries to take on their fair share. With next week’s meetings in New York city, now is the time to act, says Oxfam.
“Countries such as France and Russia are failing to provide the humanitarian support that is desperately needed. Donors must make real commitments at next week’s meeting on Syria and ensure that the money is delivered as soon as possible. This is not the time for pledges. The situation demands committed funds in order to save lives,” says Fearon.