Photo: UNDP

Brussels, 24 April 2018 - As the ‘Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region’ opens, UN Chiefs are calling urgently for increased support for vulnerable Syrians, refugees and the communities hosting them.

With the appalling conflict in Syria now into its eighth year, 13.1 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection inside the country. A further 5.6 million are refugees in neighbouring countries, while 3.9 million vulnerable members of host communities also need resilience support.

Despite generous funding by donors, only $2.3 billion of the $9.1 billion needed in 2018 by UN humanitarian and development agencies to sustain life-saving assistance for over 22 million people in need has been received so far. Less money simply means less support for the most vulnerable and desperate families.

“In the first few months of 2018 the humanitarian crisis in Syria has further worsened. Over 700,000 people have been displaced by violence and acute need, many more than once, since the beginning of the year. Nearly seventy per cent of the population are now living in extreme poverty,” warned the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock. “Over the next two days we want Syrians to know that they are not forgotten; that we are trying to find better ways to help them in this terrible situation. We call on donors to pledge funds to assist and protect Syrian families wherever they are. Despite fighting, bombing and violence, we will not give up.”

In neighbouring countries, despite generous support from hosts, up to 80% of the refugees from Syria are living below the poverty line in some countries, and 35 per cent of child refugees are out of school. Host countries have demonstrated outstanding generosity to Syrian refugees despite the huge pressure on national services and infrastructure, but they need much more support as the crisis continues unabated. Unless more funding is urgently received, critical programmes face closure or reduction in the coming months, which will result in more children out of education, more families living in poverty, and fewer people earning enough to live on.

“A quarter of the world’s refugees are Syrians, and a quarter of all Syrians are refugees,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Of all the humanitarian emergencies facing us today none match Syria’s in terms of scale or in the immensity of need. Whether for refugees, for host countries, or for host communities those needs are as urgent, as great, as ever.”

“The conflict in Syria continues to drive the largest refugee crisis in the world – over 5.6 million Syrian refugees registered, and over 2.6 million of them are children - in a region faced with deepening economic, social, and development challenges,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “Host countries have demonstrated outstanding generosity to Syrian refugees for many years despite the huge pressure on national services and infrastructure, and the international community must enhance their support for longer term development efforts to these countries on the front line who have been providing a global public good.”


The Humanitarian Response Plan for support inside Syria requires $3.51 billion in 2018 to deliver life-saving assistance, protection and resilience; and the combined Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan requires $5.6 billion to address immediate needs and build the resilience of communities in the region.

Contact information:

OCHA: +4179 472 9750 +962 791 417 882

UNHCR: +41 79 642 9709 +962 790 045849

UNDP: +1 718 915 2097 +32 471 702 903


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