Humanitarian NGOs: fund Syria response now before it’s too late

A group of 21 international aid agencies working in six countries directly affected by the Syrian crisis calls on the international community to dig deep and be generous in responding to the UN’s new Syria and refugee response appeals, being launched today.

While the priority must be to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis, the need for humanitarian aid keeps spiralling as the conflict escalates and threatens stability in neighbouring countries, the members of the Syria INGO Regional Forum (SIRF) said today.

Hugh Fenton, Chair of the Syrian INGO Regional Forum, said: “The Syrian crisis is our largest challenge as humanitarian agencies worldwide. We are trying to help millions of people. The frustrations of knowing that many people are unable to access the aid they need is indescribable. Many people are trapped by violence or such insecurity that we cannot reach them. Others are made invisible by the sheer numbers of refugees living in host communities in neighbouring countries and are still unclear on the true scale of the need.”

Donors have a critical role to play in ensuring people can get the assistance and vital services they have a right to. 

Committed funds, not just pledges, are needed to meet the growing needs of people across Syria, as well as refugees and host communities.  SIRF also calls on donors to channel funds through a variety of mechanisms including NGOs (national and international), UN agencies and host governments to ensure that aid is delivered effectively. 

SIRF reminds donors and host governments that humanitarian aid must be based solely on humanitarian principles. SIRF calls on donors to ensure that funding is impartial and driven by an independent assessment of need. Donor governments should not prioritise one group over another for a similar level of need. For instance, organisations are hearing reports that the needs of Palestinian, Iraqis, Sudanese, and Lebanese refugees fleeing Syria are not being fully addressed. 

Donors must not allow bureaucratic impediments, such as delays in formal registration, to hinder the delivery of aid.  The pressing humanitarian needs must take precedence over rigid donor requirements so that aid reaches those who need it as soon as possible.

SIRF welcomes the inclusion of the Governments of Lebanon and Jordan in the appeal, given the generosity of Governments hosting refugees and recognising the burden this support places on countries' basic services and systems. 

“Hospitality and generosity towards neighbours and strangers alike are hallmarks of the region”, Fenton said. “The humanitarian community must reciprocate Jordan’s and Lebanon’s generosity to make sure this regional tragedy doesn’t further burden the very countries that have welcomed refugees with open arms.”

Note to editors

For more information, please contact:

Mike Bailey, World Vision International: +96273445410,

Syria INGO Regional Forum has members responding to the Syrian crisis in Syria and neighbouring countries.  These include: Action Aid, CARE, Danish Church Aid, Danish Refugee Council, Handicap International, HelpAge International, Intersos, International Medical Corps, International Catholic Migration Commission, International Rescue Committee, Medair, Medecins du Monde, Mennonite Central Committee, Oxfam, Première Urgence - Aide Médicale Internationale, Relief International, Save the Children, War Child, World Vision, Un Ponte Per.