UN Alarmed Over Syrian Humanitarian Funding Shortfall

January 29, 2013

Humanitarian Aid for Syria.
Humanitarian Aid for Syria. Click to explore interactive map.

Ahead of a crucial donors conference for Syria tomorrow, UN officials are warning of a funding shortfall that severely might affect the response to the spiraling humanitarian crisis. John Ging, the Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), cited “a funding shortfall that is affecting the ability of the UN and its partners to deliver vital assistance, including food, water and medical supplies”, according to the UN News Centre.

Already last week, Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, urged more funding ahead of the donors conference:

We also need more resources. The humanitarian community has requested US$1.5 billion to help displaced people and the communities hosting them in Syria – and in neighbouring countries – for the next six months.

There is a funding conference on the 30th of this month, in Kuwait, which will be hosted by the Secretary-General of the UN and the Emir of Kuwait. We hope that the conference will yield the resources we need. If we do not receive these funds, we will not be able to reach the poorest and most vulnerable families who so desperately need our help.

The funding concerns are even more worrisome considering the acute humanitarian situation in the region. As of today, more than 700,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. Over the last month alone, 30,000 refugees fled to Jordan. Satellite images of the rapidly expanding Zaatari refugee camp are emblematic of the growing displacement crisis.

While the situation in Syria remains extremely volatile, one thing is certain: the prolonged humanitarian emergency will require a sustained commitment by the international community to support affected Syrians and the neighboring countries that receive refugees.

Who Is Funding The Syrian Humanitarian Response?

We have produced a simple map that tracks funding to the various humanitarian appeals, both for the 2012 and the current appeal: In the first half of 2013, the UN seeks $1.5 billion in funding to respond to the humanitarian crisis. Around two-thirds of the requested funding is intended for assistance of refugees seeking shelter in neighboring countries, and is based on a projection of 1 million refugees by mid-2013 (see detailed numbers of Syrians refugees on our tracker). The total funding requests, including for relief inside Syria, “comprise the largest short-term humanitarian appeal ever.” The international community largely failed so far to meaningfully respond to the egregious human rights violations and to ensure accountability by referring the situation to the International Criminal Court. Let’s hope countries will at least donate generously to the UN humanitarian appeal.

Learn more. Watch this short video about Syrian refugees fleeing to Jordan. 

Note on the data of the funding map: The map is based on data provided by the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The map shows funding by individual countries to the Syrian crisis (appeals and other reported funding) as reported to FTS and UNHCR only. Due to a time lag in reporting, it does not include most recent numbers, such as the $155 million in additional funding by the United States announced today.