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Islamic Relief welcomes G8 Syria aid boost and calls for renewed push for peace

Islamic Relief welcomes G8 Syria aid boost and calls for renewed push for peace

“It is very welcome that the G8 leaders committed $1.5 billion in new funding for the humanitarian response to this crisis,” says Jehangir Malik, Islamic Relief’s UK Director. “This includes £175m from the UK, our country’s largest single funding commitment in response to a humanitarian disaster.

“It is profoundly disappointing, however, to see the lack of progress on peace talks to end the crisis. Ultimately there can be no humanitarian solution to a political problem, and it is vital not to allow mounting humanitarian challenges or the fierce debate about arming the rebels to deflect our leaders from working tirelessly to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.”

So far the Syrian conflict has cost nearly 100,000 lives, driven over 1.5 million people out of Syria as refugees and left more than seven million people in need of emergency aid. Islamic Relief has provided assistance to 1.1 million people since the crisis began – 800,000 inside Syria and the rest in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

“The camps are full to overflowing, and host communities are stretched to breaking point,” says Jehangir Malik. “Because funding is limited, aid agencies are having to prioritise the most vulnerable and leave some to fend for themselves. It’s a situation no refugee should have to face, and a choice no aid worker should have to make.

“One family of seven I met were living in an abandoned leather tanning factory because it was the only shelter they could find. The conditions were degrading and the smell was overpowering. Another family were struggling to care for two young children with thalassaemia, without the regular blood transfusions and medicine they ultimately need to survive.

“We are getting aid through, often to places that others cannot reach, but there are places where we are papering over the cracks in a huge wall of human need – and others that we cannot reach at all because of the fighting.

“We need more countries to do as the UK Government has done, giving generously and pledging long-term support for the relief operation that goes beyond the UN’s six-month appeal cycle. It is also important to support agencies like Islamic Relief that are operating across borders to get aid to hard-to-reach areas, and to work hard to negotiate ‘humanitarian corridors’ – specified distribution routes where aid can be delivered under limited ceasefires guaranteed by all sides.

“What is needed above all is renewed diplomatic efforts to bring this ferocious conflict to an end.”

For more information or to arrange an interview with Jehangir Malik, contact Martin Cottingham ([email protected] / 07702-940982).

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