GENEVA / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN UPDATE

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21-Feb-2020 00:02:38
Families fleeing violence in north-west Syria have resorted to burning their clothes to protect themselves against freezing winter temperatures, UN humanitarians said on Friday, while also warning of a potential “bloodbath” unless a ceasefire is agreed. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN UPDATE
TRT: 2:38
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 21 FEBRUARY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, exterior, flag alley, Palais des Nations
2. Med shot, Press briefing room, journalists
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“Some 900,000 people have been displaced in north-west Syria since 1 December, exceeding worst-case planning figures by the humanitarian community. Let me stress that when I say 900,000 people it’s mostly children – 60 per cent of those are minors. Most of the displaced have moved into increasingly crowded areas towards the border between Idlib and Turkey. About a third of them, some 330,000 of them have fled to areas in northern Aleppo governorate which is adjacent to Idlib; 170,000 of the newly displaced people are estimated to be living in the open or in unfinished buildings. More than 280,000 are staying in camps which are already stretched beyond capacity, or in makeshift camps, where they set up individual tents but where there are no basic services, such as latrines. In the freezing winter, many people have resorted to burning their spare clothes, pieces of furniture or materials that let out toxic fumes. The front lines and relentless violence continue to move closer to these areas packed with displaced people, with bombardments increasingly affecting displacement sites and their vicinity. We call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further suffering and what we fear may end in a bloodbath. In this background, the humanitarian readiness and response plan for north-west Syria that I’ve talked about earlier and that was completed last month has been revised upwards. We initially sought to help 800,000 displaced people over the next six months; we are now planning to address the needs of 1.1 million people. The requirements have also increased from an initial $336 million to about half a billion, $500 million. We have so far received funding of about $100 million.”
4. Med shot, journalists, podium with UN logo.
5. Med shot, journalists
6. Close up, journalist
7. Close up, journalist in front, podium speakers to rear with UN logo.
8. Med shot, journalists, podium with UN logo.
9. Close up, journalists
10. Close up, hands typing on laptops.
11. Close up, journalists

STORYLINE:

Families fleeing violence in north-west Syria have resorted to burning their clothes to protect themselves against freezing winter temperatures, UN humanitarians said on Friday, while also warning of a potential “bloodbath” unless a ceasefire is agreed.

“Many people have resorted to burning their spare clothes, pieces of furniture or materials that let out toxic fumes,” spokesperson Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told journalists in Geneva.

“The front lines and relentless violence continue to move closer to these areas packed with displaced people, with bombardments increasingly affecting displacement sites and their vicinity,” he warned.

Since 1 December, OCHA has reported that more than 900,000 civilians have been displaced, amid an offensive by Government forces against armed groups in the last opposition-held areas of Idlib Governorate.

The number exceeds the humanitarian community’s “worst-case planning figures”, Laerke said.“ Let me stress that when I say 900,000 people it’s mostly children – 60 per cent of those are minors. Most of the displaced have moved into increasingly crowded areas towards the border between Idlib and Turkey.”

About a third of them - some 330,000 – “have fled to areas in northern Aleppo governorate which is adjacent to Idlib”, the OCHA official added, and 170,000 of those newly displaced are likely living “in the open or in unfinished buildings”. In addition, more than 280,000 are staying in camps “which are already stretched beyond capacity”, Laerke explained, “or in makeshift camps, where they set up individual tents but where there are no basic services, such as latrines”.

The development follows an appeal for an immediate ceasefire on Tuesday by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday which was echoed by the organization’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, in his briefing to the Security Council.

Stressing that hostilities are now approaching densely populated areas, such as Idlib city and Bab al-Hawa border crossing, which has among the highest concentration of displaced civilians in north-west Syria and also serves as a humanitarian lifeline, Pedersen warned of the devastating scale of humanitarian suffering.

Echoing the UN call for an end to the violence – part of Syria’s near-nine-year war –Laerke warned that unless it happened, humanitarians feared “a bloodbath”.

Amid growing needs, OCHA now requires more funding to help vulnerable civilians.

“The humanitarian readiness and response plan for north-west Syria that I’ve talked about earlier and that was completed last month has been revised upwards,” he said. “We initially sought to help 800,000 displaced people over the next six months; we are now planning to address the needs of 1.1 million people. The requirements have also increased from an initial $336 million to about half a billion, $500 million. We have so far received funding of about $100 million.”
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