The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday since the start of the conflict some 200,000 Syrians have died from chronic illnesses due to lack of access to treatment and medicines.
The figure is in fact more than the estimated 162,000 people who have died as a direct result of warfare, she said in a statement. Vaccination programmes have been disrupted or halted altogether and we have seen outbreaks of polio and measles. An estimated 650, 000 people have been wounded in the conflict and many of these injuries have resulted in long-term disabilities.
There are reports of medical equipment being withdrawn from aid convoys and more than half of Syria's doctors have left the country since the beginning of the conflict. About 3.5 million people are estimated to reside in areas that are difficult or impossible for humanitarian actors and medical professionals to reach, Georgieva pointed out. "Denying such access is a crime. All parties to the conflict must allow unhindered access for principled humanitarian aid. I call on the Government of Syria to take decisive action to facilitate all access channels," she said.
Georgeiva noted that the conflict is now in its fourth year and, "to the horror of the international community which stands powerless while the disaster unfolds shows no sign of abating." "It is clear that the only durable solution to end the suffering of the millions who are affected by this terrible conflict is a political one.
I once again urge the international community to come together to find a lasting political solution to end this tragic war, and for unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance," said the EU Commissioner. The EU will continue to lead international assistance efforts to alleviate the plight of the Syrian people, she added.