Geneva II: End suffering in Syria

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WITH peaces talks on Syria due to get underway on Wednesday, international aid organisation CARE Australia is calling on all parties to the conflict to seek a peaceful political resolution as soon as possible.

Megan Chisholm, Emergency Manager with CARE, said the crisis had caused appalling suffering to Syria and its people over the past three years.

“The crisis is about to enter its fourth year in March. Over the past three years, more than 130,000 people have lost their lives, 2.3 million people have fled to neighbouring countries and a further6.5 million people are displaced within Syria.

“With every day that passes without a resolution to the conflict, more and more people are being pushed deeper into hunger and poverty. We must ensure that these talks bring an end to the suffering of the millions of innocent Syrians whose lives have been severely disrupted,’ she added.

While peace in Syria is the goal of Geneva II, whatever the outcome of the talks, CARE is calling on all parties to halt violence against civilians, and increase and facilitate the safe delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance in the region.

Ms Chisholm said: “In Syria, many civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, water and electricity supplies have been severely reduced, and the health system has collapsed in many parts of the country. The risk of what are normally easily preventable or treatable diseases is rapidly increasing and there have been reports of outbreaks of typhoid and measles.

“In recent weeks, those who have fled to neighbouring countries have been hit hard by winter storms and sub-zero temperatures. The majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon are living in unfinished houses, work sites or tents, and after months and sometimes years as a refugee, many have no resources left to buy food, pay for medication or send their children to school. Women who have fled the violence alone, and who have little access to income or resources, are amongst the most vulnerable and are falling deeper into poverty as they struggle to cover basic survival needs.

“Now is the time to end their suffering. Their interests must lie at the heart of the Geneva II peace talks. Failure to reach a resolution puts their lives, and the lives of millions more innocent Syrians, at risk,’ Ms Chisholm added.

CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.

To support CARE’s Syrian refugee crisis appeal, visit www.care.org.au/syria or call 1800 020 046.

Source: CARE Australia

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