Syria Live Blog
Aid operations for Syrian refugees are severely under-funded as humanitarian crisis escalates
The humanitarian situation in Syria has taken a dramatic turn for the worse in recent days, placing fresh strain on aid operations that are already severely under-funded, EU officials said on Thursday.
With an escalation in fighting that has prompted increasing numbers of Syrians to flee, "the humanitarian situation has changed significantly in the last four or five days," said an aid expert from the European Commission.
"It's like running behind a train that constantly keeps accelerating," he said.
While a current programme headed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees provides for aid to 185,000 refugees from Syria by year's end, 120,000 have already registered with UNHCR and "the real number is much higher," he said.
"This will get worse before it gets better," the source added. "We need to scale up further... There is far too little money."
A $193-million appeal for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq is 80 per cent under-funded and a $189m plan to aid Syrians inside faces a 74 percent shortfall.
The EU experts said three out of four Syrian refugees were women and children who fled with only the clothes they were wearing.
Within the country, hundreds of thousands were on the move, some sleeping on the streets with nowhere to go. International donors plan to extend food aid to 1.5 million people compared to current aims of 850,000 people a month.
The EU appears to be by far the largest donor to humanitarian programmes, though Arab League nations were known to have handed "big cheques" to help Syria's neighbours cope with the exodus.