The U.N. migration agency is appealing for nearly $194 million to provide essential aid to three million Syrian war victims displaced internally or as refugees in neighboring countries. The money also would support the communities hosting them.

Nearly seven years of conflict in Syria has taken a heavy toll. The United Nations reports about one-half million people have been killed and more than 18.5 million civilians both inside and outside the war-torn country are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The International Organization for Migration reports more than six million people are internally displaced in Syria, and ongoing violence continues to force people to flee their homes, many multiple times.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman says it is vital to provide a lifeline to the many displaced who are trying to survive the deteriorating conditions in the country.

“Access to primary health care has been drastically reduced inside Syria, while agricultural production has been cut in half compared to 2011 levels. Livelihoods have also been severely hampered by the conflict and many areas of the country are contaminated by weapons,” Millman said.

The U.N. reports more than 5.5 million Syrians have taken refuge in five neighboring countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Millman says this large number of people places a huge burden on the host countries.

“Since the crisis began, economic growth within host countries has been severely affected. With high unemployment rates, especially among young people, and limited resource availability, it is challenging for governments and municipalities to provide basic services,” Millman said.

The IOM says money from the appeal will provide one million people with non-food items and shelter support. Other assistance will include access to safe water, health services, community-led protection services, and schooling for tens of thousands of displaced and refugee children.

Source: Voice of America

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