The civil war in Syria has expectedly fostered a humanitarian crisis for noncombatants. The UN Refugee Agency revealed that 170,000 Syrians have been registered in adjacent Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. The crisis has restricted civilian access to food and medical care. The latter is particularly alarming given the contaminated water supply in Damascus which has caused an outbreak of diarrhea. The sudden influx of displaced Syrians has overwhelmed state authorities and relief groups trying to organize a response.
The number of registered refugees in Turkey is approaching 60,000 and close to 40,000 in Lebanon. The chief obstacle for providing proper medical care is funding. Indeed, Lebanon’s Higher Relief Committee, the country’s principal aid organization, suspended medical and nutritional assistance due to lack of funding.
Algerian diplomat and Nobel laureate Lakhdar Brahimi has been appointed by the United Nations to replace former UN secretary general Kofi Annan as the international mediator on Syria. Hilary Clinton has expressed full support for the decision and the attempt to secure peace in Syria. Cash assistance would be infinitely more useful.