Red Cross Symposium 2015: Humanitarian Crisis in Middle East
With the situation in the Syrian Civil War going worse, the roughly four million refugees that have reportedly left the country have attracted international attention. There are also 6.5 million people remaining in the country who are forced to lead lives fraught with danger on a daily basis. Held in Tokyo on November 7 by the Japanese Red Cross Society and NHK, the Red Cross Symposium 2015 took as its theme the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. The event deepened discussion about ways to provide humanitarian assistance amid the ongoing conflict.
There are 13.5 million people, mostly internally displaced who are in need of assistance in Syria. 4.5 million people are not receiving enough support, and nearly 400,000 people have been left behind in areas surrounded by fighting. Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Kobe Office Masaki Watabe said “We have collected only 37% of the 2.9 billion dollars that we need to support them.” He pointed out another problem. “Essential for the delivery of assistance, negotiations with the warring parties are not in progress.”
This kind of environment is having a significant nationwide impact on all aspect of Syrian civic life. The effects include inflation, shortages of medicines, power outages, cuts in the water supply, rising poverty, and children who are unable to go to school. It was also reported at this year’s symposium that there is no end to contraventions of international humanitarian law, such as the bombing of healthcare facilities and their workers, and attacks on humanitarian assistance operations.