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U.N. says Syria is 'unraveling'

June 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 7 (UPI) -- More than 6.8 million people in Syria are in need of some form of urgent humanitarian assistance, top U.N. human rights officials said Friday in Geneva.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres issued an appeal Friday for more than $3 billion in assistance to help address growing humanitarian needs in Syria.

"Syria as a civilization is unraveling with as many as half of its citizens in need of urgent help as a result of this savage conflict," Guterres said in a statement. "The funds we are appealing for are a matter of survival for suffering Syrians and they are essential for the neighboring countries hosting refugees."

The United Nations estimates at least 1.6 million Syrians are displaced abroad. More than 4 million are internally displaced and half of those are children.

The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria this week said food, medicine and electricity were in short supply throughout the country. The report said access to those Syrians trapped by conflict remains "severely" inhibited.

U.N. humanitarian officials said Friday millions of Syrian civilians were paying the price for civil war.

"After more than two years of brutal conflict, almost a third of Syrians need urgent humanitarian help and protection, but the needs are growing more quickly than we can meet them," Amos said in a statement.

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