“How Much Longer?”

17 January 2014
“How Much Longer?”
Statement by the International Humanitarian Community

How much longer must children suffer from hunger? How much longer must women die in childbirth for lack of medical care? How much longer must we be barred from the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus and the many thousands of desperate and vulnerable civilians caught up in Syria’s conflict? How much longer will we allow such unimaginable civilian suffering?

We, the international humanitarian community, call on the participants of the Geneva Peace Talks to lift the restrictions on Yarmouk refugee camp and all areas of humanitarian need in Syria.

Yarmouk was home to some 160,000 people before the fighting, but much of the camp has been destroyed by the conflict, and today about 18,000 people remain trapped inside, many of them women and children. With reports of malnutrition, people eating animal feed, a severe lack of medical services, and water and electricity almost nonexistent, we fear that time is running out for those trapped in Yarmouk.

Please add your voice. We hope to reach 23 million people, one for each member of the Syrian population. Together we can make the world listen.


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACPP) - Spain
Asociación Europea de Cooperación con Palestina (ASECOP) – Spain
Agência da ONU de Assistência aos Refugiados da Palestina (UNRWA)
Agenda 21 del Islam - Spain
Alianza por la Solidaridad – Spain
American Friends of UNRWA
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)
Arab American Institute (AAI)
Asociación Comunidad Palestina a Catalunya
Asociación de la Comunidad Hispano-Palestina Jerusalén – Spain
Bab al Shams Village Council
Centre Euro Arab de Catalanya
Comisión de Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR) Spain
Comité de Arbitraje Musulmán - Spain
Comitato Italiano per l’UNRWA
Comité Nacional UNRWA España
Comunidad Palestina de Valencia – Spain
Consejo de Imanes y Predicadores de España - Spain
Cultura Paz y Solidaridad HAYDÉE SANTAMARÍA – Spain
Federación de Comunidades Musulmanas de Castilla La Mancha – FECOM- Spain
Foundation for Middle East Peace
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Fundación Las Fuentes - Spain
General Union of Palestinian Communities in Europe – Europe
Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)
Human Rights Watch
Instituto Español de Estudios Islámicos - Spain
Instituto Halal – Spain
Jahalin Association
Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development
Junta Islámica – Spain
Movimiento por la Paz, El Desarme y la Libertad (MPDL) Spain
Mujeres en Zona de Conflicto (MZC) Spain
Norwegian Refugee Council
Observatorio de Defensa del Islam – Spain          
Observatorio de Islamofobia – Spain
ONG Rescate Internacional – Spain
The International Rescue Committee
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Population Fund, Japan
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
United Nations World Food Programme
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United Palestinian Appeal (UPA)
Universal Peace Federation – Spain
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
War Child UK
World Food Programme Italian Committee
Women Federation for World Peace – Spain,
Pax Christi International
IKV Pax Christi Netherlands
Rete Internazionale delle Donne per la Pace (International Network of Women for Peace)
Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) (Italian Labour Conferderation)
Islamic Relief
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)
Save the Children
Amnesty International
Terre des Hommes Italia
Refugees International
American Friends Service Committee

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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