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`When weapons speak, civilians pay the price,’

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Mark Lowcock, has said that civilians paid the highest price in any war situation.

Lowcock, in a brief to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, regretted that more than 1,700 people had reportedly been killed in military operations and airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta since the last one month.

The UN aid chief described the past few months of relentless bloodshed as “some of the worst yet” for civilians inside war-torn Syria.

Lowcock said attacks on critical civilian infrastructure like medical facilities continued to be reported with at least 28 reported attacks on health facilities since mid-February and more than 70 verified incidents since the beginning of this year.

“Tens of thousands of people have also been displaced from across the war-ravaged country and many are living in overcrowded, ill-equipped shelters.

“There is also a severe shortage of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, as well as rising protection concerns,” he said.

He regretted the lack of physical security for aid workers, continued fighting, denial of access, and lack of resources to reach and help civilians.

According to him, 5.6 million Syrians in acute need cannot live on crumbs, adding: “We are essentially just given crumbs – an occasional convoy here and there, often, coincidentally.’’

“Whatever the difficulty, the United Nations and its partners, remain determined to follow through, for the sake of the Syrian people,” Lowcock said.

He said the seemingly unending conflict in Syria has surpassed World War II in terms of duration.

Since the conflict broke out in March 2011, more than 13 million Syrians remain dependent on humanitarian assistance, including 6.1 million internally displaced and over 5.5 million driven into refuge outside its borders.

Furthermore, a third of houses and residences across the country and about half of all health facilities are estimated to have been destroyed.

More than 2.75 million children are out of school and about two-thirds of all Syrian children have lost a loved one, had their house damaged or suffered conflict-related injuries.

NAN


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