UN / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN

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29-Jan-2020 00:03:29
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock expressed his alarm about the dire humanitarian situation in northwest Syria adding that people “feel totally abandoned by the world.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN
TRT: 3:29
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ARABIC / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 29 JANUARY 2020, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

29 JANUARY 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Wide shot, Lowcock joining meeting
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“People feel increasingly under siege as the bombardment follows them from place to place. They are traumatized. They feel totally abandoned by the world. They do not understand why this Council is unable to stop the carnage amongst a civilian population trapped in a war zone.”
5. Med shot, Russian ambassador
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Experienced UN humanitarian staff are not surprised by any of this. The difficulty of crossing lines with essential aid, or moving goods and staff through contested areas, is something we have become all too familiar with over the course of the nine years of the conflict.”
7. Med shot, Syrian ambassador
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Syrians going out to buy food are finding fewer items in their markets, including those looking for basics like rice, oil and sugar. Most available items cost more than ever - the price of bread, for example, has increased by more than 50 per cent in some areas in recent months.”
9. Med shot, British and US representatives
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Parties to the conflict, and those with influence, must stop the fighting. Unless the current hostilities stop, we will see an even greater humanitarian catastrophe. I hope you will take every step to avoid that.”
11. Wide shot, Security Council
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“What is more shameful than OCHA’s negligence are the responses we hear from some of its representatives behind closed doors – in our private meetings with them – that they are not allowed to speak about this issue; otherwise their career path could be in jeopardy, or they could be punished and removed from their jobs. This excuse is worse than the crime, especially for those working to implement a noble humanitarian mandate in a way which is supposed to be professional, impartial and humane.”
13. Med shot, French representative and German ambassador
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“Tens of reports and hundreds of statements and OCHA did not tell you about the newborns who lost their lives due to the loss of power in incubators at some hospitals and healthcare centres; or their counterparts who survived, but the coercive measures refused to stop until they killed them through preventing them from accessing baby formula and other basic nutrition items. OCHA did not speak to you about the mothers that have turned to candlelight to educate their daughters.”
15. Med shot, Belgian and Chinese ambassadors
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that our problem is not with OCHA as an institution, rather it is with those in charge of it who have replaced the United Nations’ humanitarian agenda with the agenda of the countries to which they belong. And if their claims were true, they would not have declined to meet our requests and provide support to the populations of over 40 towns and cities liberated from terrorism this month in Idlib and the surrounding areas.”
17. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock expressed his alarm about the dire humanitarian situation in northwest Syria adding that people “feel totally abandoned by the world.”

Addressing the Security Council today (29 Jan), Lowcock said hostilities have escalated in recent days in the Idlib area, especially around Ma’arat al-Numan, Saraqeb and western Aleppo, adding that the fighting in these areas appears to be more intense than anything we have seen in the last year.

The most alarming reports have come from southern Idlib, he added, where hundreds of airstrikes by the Government of Syria and its allies have been concentrated. Meanwhile, non-State armed groups continue to shell Aleppo city, killing or injuring dozens of civilians. Lowcock said the UN assessment is that at least 20,000 people have moved in the last two days, some 115,000 have left in the past week, and nearly 390,000 have fled in the past two months.

Lowcock said humanitarian responders do not have the capacity to meet the level of need in northwest Syria.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“People feel increasingly under siege as the bombardment follows them from place to place. They are traumatized. They feel totally abandoned by the world. They do not understand why this Council is unable to stop the carnage amongst a civilian population trapped in a war zone.”

The Emergency Relief Coordinator added that it is imperative that all parties agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities in and around the Idlib de-escalation area.

Lowcock added that the humanitarian situation in the northeast remains difficult, with some 70,000 people still displaced following the military operations we saw in October and an additional 90,000 people living in IDP camps. He said some 1.8 million people in the northeast need humanitarian assistance, adding that no UN convoys containing medical supplies had gone from Damascus to the northeast this month.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Experienced UN humanitarian staff are not surprised by any of this. The difficulty of crossing lines with essential aid, or moving goods and staff through contested areas, is something we have become all too familiar with over the course of the nine years of the conflict.”

Lowcock told the Council that the food security situation, according to analysis, has worsened over the last year. He said the economic situation in Syria poses increasing hardship on civilians across the country, adding that in some areas the Syrian pound traded at more than 1,100 to the US dollar, representing half the value of six months ago.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Syrians going out to buy food are finding fewer items in their markets, including those looking for basics like rice, oil and sugar. Most available items cost more than ever - the price of bread, for example, has increased by more than 50 per cent in some areas in recent months.”

The Emergency Relief Coordinator underscored that parties to the conflict, “and those with influence, must stop the fighting.” He said, “Unless the current hostilities stop, we will see an even greater humanitarian catastrophe” and hoped that the Security Council would take “every step to avoid that.”

Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said his country was facing economic terrorism and collective punishment which is complementary to armed terrorism. He said all Syrians, some 24 million people, are facing today a wide array of coercive measures while the UN humanitarian office (OCHA) ignores calls by the Syrian Government to give this issue the attention it deserves, which he described as “shameful.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“What is more shameful than OCHA’s negligence are the responses we hear from some of its representatives behind closed doors – in our private meetings with them – that they are not allowed to speak about this issue; otherwise their career path could be in jeopardy, or they could be punished and removed from their jobs. This excuse is worse than the crime, especially for those working to implement a noble humanitarian mandate in a way which is supposed to be professional, impartial and humane.”

He said OCHA did not inform the Council about Syrian children facing extreme cold without heating in schools and homes due to the coercive measures which prevent the Syrian Government from importing fuel to replace the national production of its oil and gas which are being stolen by the United States.

SOUNDBITE (English) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“Tens of reports and hundreds of statements and OCHA did not tell you about the newborns who lost their lives due to the loss of power in incubators at some hospitals and healthcare centres; or their counterparts who survived, but the coercive measures refused to stop until they killed them through preventing them from accessing baby formula and other basic nutrition items. OCHA did not speak to you about the mothers that have turned to candlelight to educate their daughters.”

Ja’afari assured the Council that the Syrian Government’s problem “is not with OCHA as an institution, rather it is with those in charge of it who have replaced the United Nations’ humanitarian agenda with the agenda of the countries to which they belong.” He said, “If their claims were true, they would not have declined to meet our requests and provide support to the populations of over 40 towns and cities liberated from terrorism this month in Idlib and the surrounding areas.”
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