EU calls for ceasefire in Syria due to coronavirus pandemic

EU calls for ceasefire in Syria due to coronavirus pandemic
The European Union on Sunday (March 29) called for an immediate and nationwide ceasefire in Syria to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, EU External Action spokesman Peter Stano stressed the dangers of the virus in war zones, reiterating the importance of ending hostilities.

The cease-fire "is also a precondition for halting the spread of the coronavirus and protecting an already struggling population from its potentially devastating consequences," he added.

The situation is particularly critical in the northwestern province of Idlib because of the high number of displaced people, he said.

The EU joined the UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen's call to stop violence and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the UN’s latest humanitarian assessments, the Syrian conflict has produced more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees and 6.1 million internally displaced people. More than 11 million people inside Syria require humanitarian assistance, including 4.8 million children. Only 64% of hospitals and 52% of primary health care centers across Syria were fully functional at the end of last year. Up to 70% of the health workforce has left the country.

The number of people without reliable access to food is nearly 8 million, and in just one year, it has increased by more than 20%. Across the country, 500,000 children are chronically malnourished. The number of displaced people seeking refuge in informal settlements and collective camps has increased by 42% year on year, to a total of 1.2 million this year.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Friday expressed concern over the potential consequences of the pandemic on the more than 1 million civilians displaced from Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke spoke of the effects of the disease on Syria during a video news conference in the UN’s Geneva office.

“The UN expresses concern over the potential outcomes of COVID-19 on millions of people throughout Syria and especially on more than 900,000 displaced civilians in Syria’s northwest (Idlib),” Laerke stated, underlining that displaced people in Idlib lack food and clean water in overcrowded camps.

Based on DS

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