UN voices concern over worsening humanitarian situation in NW Syria

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Hostilities, an economic crisis, and COVID-19 have made the already dire situation of civilians in Northwest Syria even more difficult, said UN humanitarians on Friday.

Hostilities continued to be reported across Northwest Syria throughout September, with intensified airstrikes along the front lines in southern Idlib and almost daily reports of violence, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UN is also extremely concerned about the spike in COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,000 people per day testing positive in Northwest Syria. There has been a 170 percent increase in the total number of positive cases in the last month alone, or more than 71,715 cases, said OCHA.

Limited equipment to test for COVID-19 is a problem, on top of a severe oxygen shortage. In addition, less than 3 percent of the population in the Northwest is vaccinated. With 1.6 million people living in crowded camp settings, the spread of COVID-19 will further tax an overburdened system, it warned.

In addition, 97 percent of the population in Northwest Syria live in extreme poverty, depending on humanitarian aid for food, medicine and other basic services.

Through the cross-border mechanism from Turkey, the United Nations is delivering aid to millions of people each month, including the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. A first cross-line convoy delivered aid from Damascus to World Food Programme warehouses in Northwest Syria at the end of August. But more is needed, said OCHA.

Funding gaps are limiting the delivery of humanitarian assistance, with around two-thirds of the required 513 million U.S. dollars need for life-saving support not received, it said.

The United Nations continues to call on all parties to implement their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and calls on all member states to continue and to increase their generous donations to people in need throughout Syria. Enditem

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