The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, where more than 5 million people urgently need help. As a consequence of this situation, over 2 million people have been displaced inside the country and more than 540,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries.
The UN Refugee Agency has warned that the number of Syrian refugees could double to 1.1 million by June 2013. This winter, many families are struggling to keep warm, without adequate shelter, warm clothes and heating fuel. Children make up more than 50 per cent of the civilians affected by the crisis.
Despite the growing needs, the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) and the regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) for 2012 are underfunded, limiting the ability of UN agencies and their humanitarian partners to reach people who desperately need help. The revised plans now require more than US$1.5 billion to cover the most urgent humanitarian needs during the first half of 2013.
The Secretary-General reiterates that the international community must do more to alleviate the suffering of millions of people in Syria and the neighbouring countries. On 30 January 2013, the Secretary-General will chair a high-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait City. The conference, hosted by the Government of Kuwait, is a timely and much-needed opportunity to address the funding gap. The Secretary-General urges all Member States to be generous in their pledges and is thankful to those who continue to support the humanitarian efforts.
The Secretary-General is particularly grateful for the generosity of the Government of Kuwait for agreeing to host the conference and for its recent pledge of $20 million for the humanitarian response in Syria.