Three Ways to Help Syria

Save the Children Responds to President Trump’s Speech to UN Security Council

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Sept. 26, 2018)—In response to President Trump’s remarks at the UN Security Council meeting, Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children said:

While leading the UN Security Council meeting, President Trump mentioned the crisis in Syria and stated: “Anything the USA can do to help resolve this problem to save hundreds of thousands of lives- maybe more- we are willing and able to help.”

Save the Children welcomes this statement and urges the Administration immediately to translate the President’s commitment into concrete action:

First, the U.S. must accelerate humanitarian assistance to the children and families affected by the crisis. After more than seven years of war, 69 percent of the Syrian population is living in extreme poverty and roughly two-thirds of the population has had difficulty accessing electricity and clean water. Less than half of all hospitals in Syria are fully operational. This population, including more than 5 million children, is in dire need of the bare necessities—food, water and medicine. A recent report by the World Health Organization found that all four of Idlib’s national hospitals were not functioning. The lack of public provision of healthcare has meant that local and international actors have had to fill the gap. The U.S. can help with assistance within Syria as well as in neighboring countries bearing the burden of this conflict, including investment in education for refugee children who need skills and hope for the future. 

Secondly, the U.S. must also increase support for those affected by the crisis by resettling vulnerable Syrian refugees in the U.S. The crisis in Syria has forced millions of families to flee their homes in search of safety, leaving more than 6 million people displaced within Syria and 5.5 million people seeking refuge in other countries. More than half of all refugees are children. Their only chance for survival and a better future relies on access to safety. The United States has long been a beacon of hope for the millions of children and families trying to escape war and persecution and now, when more families need our help than ever before, is not the time to turn off that beacon for those most in need. The vast majority of the refugees Save the Children has worked with say their main reason for fleeing was so their children could have a childhood, an education, and a chance at a future.

Lastly, the U.S. can help by stepped up diplomatic engagement.  It must apply political pressure to end this war and avoid catastrophe in Idlib. Fighting in Idlib will have a devastating impact on the almost 3 million people now living there, over half of whom have already been displaced, pushed to their limits and have nowhere left to flee.

Aid agencies working in the governorate are overwhelmed trying to provide shelter, food, schooling and healthcare across communities that have doubled in size, already welcoming almost 1.5 million people displaced due to the conflict. Many of those families arrived in Idlib with little more than the clothes on their back after leaving areas retaken by Government forces.

In collaboration with others in the international community, we look forward to seeing such concrete actions to follow through on the President’s statement.

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