Turtle Bay

Lack of access is the biggest problem we face in Syria. Both the Government and the opposition are blocking aid deliveries, as I have pointed out in public and in private fora, including regular briefings to the Security Council, media interviews and meetings since the beginning of the conflict. We face serious bureaucratic constraints in getting permission from the Government for convoys and obtaining visas, setting up humanitarian hubs and getting essential equipment through customs. Opposition groups have blocked our convoys and refused to allow us passage through checkpoints.

UN organizations, with their partners, are currently meeting the needs of millions of people in Syria. WFP has scaled up its operations and now aims to reach 4 million people each month, half of whom are in opposition-held or contested areas. UNICEF and partners have provided around 10 million people with access to safe water country-wide and since the beginning of the year, UNHCR and partners have provided household items to almost 2.4 million people, around 40 per cent of them in opposition-held or disputed areas. During this year approximately 2.7 million people have had medical consultations, treatments and interventions and 2 million reached so far with emergency health kits by WHO and health partners. UNHCR, UNICEF and WHO are currently taking part in a polio vaccination campaign that targets 1.6 million children.

Our job requires an operational response on the ground, information management, sensitive negotiations and advocacy. We are not just an advocacy organization. We have a responsibility to help those most in need. We have achieved that through a mix of public pressure and quiet diplomacy with the parties active in the conflict in Syria.

OCHA publishes regular bulletins on the humanitarian situation inside Syria including constraints on access; the most recent was issued on 4 November. However, we do not release detailed operational information publicly for reasons including the security of our staff and those in partner organizations, and the integrity of our negotiations.