In Syria, a catastrophic humanitarian situation

In Syria, a catastrophic humanitarian situation - Aleppo February 27, 2013 - Photo courtesy of Reuters/Giath Taha

In Syria, a catastrophic humanitarian situation - Aleppo February 27, 2013 - Photo courtesy of Reuters/Giath Taha

ICRC Director of Operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl recently returned from Syria, where he held high-level talks and witnessed the plight of civilians first-hand.

Based on his discussions with people directly affected by the conflict, with authorities and with our Damascus colleagues, Mr. Kraehenbuehl describes a catastrophic humanitarian situation, one in which tens of thousands of persons have been killed, injured, displaced. Thousands are missing or have been arrested. 

Mr. Kraehenbuehl also echoes an operational update published today when discussing the health-care situation in the country, with no respite in the violence directed at medical installations and personnel treating the sick and the wounded.

Despite the continually evolving landscape of the conflict, the multiplicity of armed actors and high insecurity, our Damascus delegation has carried out over 100 field trips in 2012 and, with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has assisted millions of Syrians across frontlines and political divides. It is now working hard to gain access to persons detained across Syria. This work is expected to continue and develop. 

However, as Mr. Kraehenbuehl explains, today's overall humanitarian response remains insufficient in view of the needs of the population.