Jan Egeland, Special Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, recently said, “That’s what I fear, people think it’s over,” amid reports that “tens of thousands of people” from rural Damascus were preparing to evacuate to Idlib in the north-west of the country. “It’s not over.”
“We’ve still only 23 per cent of humanitarian programs funded,” Mr Egeland said, warning that there was “no cash …available to humanitarian actors” as “desperate, exhausted people arrive now every day in Idlib. There is no money for the operations.” He called on countries not to slow down their support “before this marathon of suffering is over.”
Two million people remain in hard-to-reach areas in Syria and 11,000 still live in besieged locations. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), displacement in some parts of Syria is as high as it was at the beginning of the crisis. OCHA’s records indicate that for every person who returns home voluntarily, another three people are newly displaced.
Mr. Egeland said his “worry number one” was Idlib, which is already home to more than two million people. “They are living out in the open, they are living in congested displacement camps…crammed in collective centers,” he said.