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More Desperately Needed Aid For Syria


USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg, center, talks with Syrian refugees during a recent visit to the Islahiye camp in Turkey.

The first priority, she said, is food, with the U.S. being the largest donor to the World Food program:

During his address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. will provide nearly $340 million in additional humanitarian aid to help meet the needs of the war-ravaged Syrian people, bringing the U.S. contribution to this effort to over $1.3 billion:

“No aid can take the place of a political resolution that gives the Syrian people the chance to rebuild their country – but it can help desperate people to survive.”


In an interview at the U.N., Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID, spoke of the enormous and desperate need:

“A third of Syrians are now displaced; there are more Syrians forced out of their homes than anyone else on the earth right now.”

Ms. Lindborg said aid is divided between Syrians inside Syria and those who have fled to neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

The first priority, she said, is food, with the U.S. being the largest donor to the World Food program:

“Our assistance currently feeds about 3 million people every day inside Syria.”

Another priority is healthcare, which, she said, has expanded from a focus on trauma care, to a variety of services, including an early warning system for and fast response to the spread of infectious diseases, like cholera, measles, and polio:

“Diseases that if they spread unchecked, given the number of Syrians who are displaced and already very vulnerable…could have a shattering effect.”

Essential supplies, like clothes, blankets, mattresses, and tents make up the third aid priority:

“On a recent visit in Amman and Beirut, I met with groups of women who all had horrible stories of their houses being bombed…They had to flee grabbing whatever they could, and so here they are with their families, with their little kids, and they literally just have the clothes on their backs.”

Assistant Administrator Lindborg praised what she called the “unbelievable courage of Syrian doctors, nurses and health workers” who have stayed to care for the wounded and sick -- working in health centers that have been specifically and systematically targeted for destruction.

The past year has witnessed “a staggering escalation of this crisis,” Ms. Lindborg said. “So we need more than ever for every country to step forward to help shoulder this burden.”
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