A senior UN official while announcing that almost 11 million people are in need throughout Syria said Iran has a very important role to play in helping UN gain better access for humanitarian organizations in Syria and elsewhere.
Addressing a press conference organized by UNIC Tehran on 17 August 2014, the visiting United Nations Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said that out of those 11 million, 4.7 million people live in areas that are hard to reach and 241,000 live in besieged communities. She emphasized that the UN is of course responding to this unprecedented crisis.
During her two-day official visit (17-18 August), Ms. Amos met and conferred with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abbass Araqchi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abodollahian, President of Natural Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) Esmaeil Najjar and President of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) Dr. Mohammad Farhadi.
The UN humanitarian official said she had an important opportunity to discuss with the Government partners ways in which UN can strengthen its partnership to improve regional cooperation on humanitarian assistance and also to discuss the major humanitarian crisis in the region.
Referring to the humanitarian situation in Iraq she said people were faced with a rapidly unravelling humanitarian crisis, which has already caused one of the largest internal population displacements in the world.
“Attacks, systematic persecution and grave human rights abuses against civilians by the so called Islamic State and other armed groups are outrageous,” she said adding that UN agencies and partners are supporting national, regional and local government authorities in the aid efforts.
She said in Gaza, 1,975 Palestinians, including 1,417 civilians and 67 Israelis were killed during the conflict and an estimated 10,000 people have been injured, including 3,000 children and 3000 women. Amos added that damage to hospitals, schools and UNRWA shelters where people displaced sought refuge, will take months to rebuild. The UN response continues, including deliveries of food, water and household good. Medicines and fuel are being delivered to hospitals.
“We will continue to help the people of Syria, Iraq and Gaza,” she emphasized.
Before departing Tehran, Ms. Amos participated in a ceremony marking World Humanitarian Day (WHD) 2014 at Iranian Centre for International Conferences (ICIC) on Monday 18 August.