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One million Syrians in need of humanitarian aid: UN spokesman

(Xinhua)

09:00, March 30, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A humanitarian assessment run by the government of Syria with participation of the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has concluded that at least one million people in Syria currently need humanitarian assistance, a UN spokesman told reporters here Thursday.

"The joint analysis of the United Nations and the OIC indicates that at least one million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, across the governorates visited by the mission," Eduardo del Buey said at a daily news briefing here.

Technical staff from eight UN agencies participated in the assessment, which concluded on Monday, as well as three staff from the OIC. The team visited Aleppo, Ar Roqqa, Dara'a, Dayr Az Zor, Hama, Homs, Idlib, Lattakia, Rural Damascus and Tartous governorates. The analysis has already been shared with the Syrian government.

Information was gathered from civilians, government officials, religious and community leaders, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent ( SARC), and local non-governmental organizations. While some areas could not be accessed due to ongoing insecurity or time constraints, the mission's members were able to visit opposition- held neighborhoods, according to the UN Office of Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Priority needs identified in the assessment include protection, food, medical assistance, non-food items, such as beddings and household essentials, and education.

Syrian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmad Arnous has approved the delivery of assistance in coordination with the SARC. An initial convoy carrying food, blankets and hygiene kits for 2, 000 displaced families left Damascus for the Tartous Governorate Wednesday. Delivery is expected to begin Friday and further distributions are planned in other locations.

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