In the wake of the United Nation’s largest-ever appeal for international aid, New Democrats are calling on the Canadian government to respond quickly to the mounting humanitarian crisis threatening millions of Syrian refugees.
“The scale and depth of this humanitarian crisis is shocking,” said Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic (Ottawa—Centre). “With an exceptionally harsh winter coming on, starvation and exposure have become a real risk for refugees and the population remaining in Syria. Canada must show global leadership and step up with funds to help fulfill this appeal as soon as possible.”
The UN estimates that nearly three-quarters of Syria’s 22.4 million people will require humanitarian aid in 2014, and a recent survey by the International Rescue Committee found that the greatest worry for four out of five Syrians is that food will run out. The UN’s June international appeal for aid has only been 60% funded so far.
“The collapse of the medical system inside Syria, combined with deepening violence, food shortages and extreme weather are creating a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. Children are particularly vulnerable to illnesses, starvation and cold, and they make up about half of the Syrian refugee population,” said Hélène Laverdière, NDP International Development Critic (Laurier—Ste-Marie). “We cannot afford to wait – Canada must step up and do everything possible to save lives, and encourage our allies to do the same.”