Damascus: UN has asked Syrian government to permit the agency to import fuel so as to continue the aid work there, the UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Tuesday.
Valerie Amos, who is in Damscus, said that the shortage of fuel was obstructing the UN aid work and slowing the delivery of services to those in need. She also asked the Syrian government to allow access to ten additional international humanitarian organizations in order to cater to the needs of millions of Syrian civilians in need.
A whopping 2.5 million people in Syria urgently need humanitarian aid, as per UN statistics.
Syria is now in 21st month of a battle against President Bashar Assad that has displaced over 3 million Syrians from their homes. Among those who left their homes are more than 500,000 who fled to neighboring countries.
Moreover the inclement chill weather is adding to the troubles o those displaced.
The UN already does humanitarian work in both government- and rebel-controlled areas, working with a range of local partners and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
Amos said the government promised an answer on the fuel Tuesday, and reiterated the commitment it made to her and to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September that UN humanitarian organizations can move around the country.
“The key thing Saturday was informing the government that if we are truly to make use of the access that the government say we can have, it means that we have to cross lines, we have to move from government-controlled areas to disputed areas to opposition-controlled areas,” she said.
“I also informed the government that we will be making greater contacts with the opposition inside of Syria itself,” she said.
The UN humanitarian chief who was just in Damascus said Monday she informed the Syrian government that the United Nations will be stepping up contacts with the opposition inside Syria.
Amos met Saturday with officials including Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haidar.
Amos said she heard shelling all day Saturday in Damascus “so it’s clear that the situation remains volatile.”
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 14:25