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UN says needy Syrians outstripping available aid

Wednesday - 2/27/2013, 8:01pm  ET

EDITH M. LEDERER
Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Wednesday that the growing number of Syrians fleeing the country's increasingly brutal conflict -- now 4 million and rising every day -- is outstripping the international community's ability to help.

Valerie Amos told reporters after briefing the Security Council that "this is a crisis that is completely stretching our capacity."

She said she is extremely concerned about the rising cost, noting that the U.N. has received only $200 million of the more than $1.5 billion pledged for Syria at a Jan. 30 donor's conference in Kuwait. The $1.5 billion was supposed to cover humanitarian needs in Syria for six months but that projection, from the end of the year, is already out of date, she added.

"I think the first two months of this year have been a real game-changer," Amos said. "It demands more of us in terms of our ability to scale-up our operations, but ... even with us working full-tilt, the scale is out-pacing whatever we do on the response side."

On a positive note, she said, her office has been able recently to cross "conflict lines" between opposition and government-controlled areas to help people in need in the cities of Homs and Idlib. But the Syrian government is still refusing to allow aid to enter from Turkey, leaving thousands of people trapped without aid, she said.

Amos said she and U.N. refugee chief Ant
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