The massive crisis in Syria is prompting the United Nations to launch its largest ever aid appeal saying that the number of people affected by the country’s ongoing conflict is set to spiral. The $5.2 billion figure presented at an international conference in Geneva on Friday represents a sharp increase from the $3bn the global body had previously estimated it would need this year, of which only $1.4 billion has so far been pledged.
Syria’s war is currently the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world as hospitals, schools and water sanitation infrastructure have been targeted in the raging battles between government forces and rebel fighters. Although this marks a lofty aid initiative, some fear that the appeal will not be enough as agencies have struggled to help the pace with the three-year war which has left at least 80,000 people dead.
According to the U.N, over 10 million Syrians — about half of the war-torn’s country’s population — will need aid by the end of the year. About 3 million Syrians are currently living in refugee camps in neighboring countries and as many as 4 million children are “in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.”
This aid appeal is not only an indicator for how severe the crisis is in Syria, but it also reveals that there is an absence of an imminent diplomatic political solution to the three-year civil war. “The figure for the new appeal is both an expression of the alarm about the situation facing Syrians and an absence of a political solution,” said Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN’s refugee agency.
Earlier this week, Syria’s conflict edged closer to Israel as Syria’s government forces took control of a UN-monitored crossing in the Golan Heights. With Hezbollah forces and al-Qaeda joining in on opposite sides of the war, tensions continue to rise while blood continues to spill.