UNHCR calls for more international support to countries hosting Syrian refugees
During a meeting in Jordan with top officials from five countries hosting Syrian refugees on 5 May, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres urged the international community to step up its efforts to respond to the growing impact of the Syrian crisis. Together, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt are host to around 3 million Syrian refugees. In a subsequent press statement, the High Commissioner and the ministers called on other nations to increase their financial and development assistance to host countries, and to keep their borders open to Syrians seeking protection. “The truth is that the international support to the governments and the host communities has been minimal in relation to the needs,” Guterres said. “Due to the protracted character of this crisis, this support needs to massively increase in the months to come”, he added.
Increased restrictions on Palestine refugees fleeing Syria from entering Lebanon- UNRWA
On 6 May, UNRWA voiced concerns about the deportation from Lebanon of dozens of Palestinian refugees to Syria. In a statement UNRWA said it recognizes that Lebanon has given refuge to hundreds of thousands fleeing the conflict in Syria, including about 50,000 Palestinians. The agency stressed, however, that the Security Council has affirmed the importance of the principle of “non-refoulement” and has recalled its encouragement to countries neighbouring Syria to protect all people fleeing the violence in Syria, including Palestinians.
WHO delivers life-saving medicines and surgical supplies in north central Syria
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on 4 May it has supplied crucial medicines and medical equipment, including surgical supplies and dialysis sessions, to Ar-Raqqah governorate in north central Syria to support over 117,000 vulnerable people. Two trucks loaded with 40 metric tonnes of life-saving and noncommunicable disease medicines, as well as urgently needed medical and surgical equipment, reached Ar-Raqqah to support the local health authorities and NGOs. Since January, WHO has supported more than 3.9 million people in government and opposition-controlled areas across Syria, most recently through agency-specified deliveries to Homs, Aleppo and Hama governorates.
UN agency declares global health emergency to stem potential resurgence of polio
5 May 2014 –The spread of polio in countries where it was once eradicated is an “extraordinary event” and unless an international coordinated response is urgently put in place, the preventable disease will resurge, the United Nations health agency today warned. Members of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Committee meeting today in Geneva unanimously agreed that the overriding priority for all polio-infected countries must be to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission within their borders “as rapidly as possible”.
In addition to vaccinations, WHO recommended that the highest levels of Government officially declare that interrupting the spread of polio is a national public health emergency. The UN and its partners re-launched massive vaccination campaigns last month in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, aiming to reach 22 million children.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
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