Crush of Syrian refugees overwhelming efforts to help, aid groups say

McClatchy reports: Only weeks ahead of what forecasters say could be a brutal winter, humanitarian aid agencies working on the Syrian conflict are sounding the alarm that little is being done to provide assistance to a refugee population that’s expected to reach 3 million by the end of the year.

The United Nations has collected only half of the $5 billion it needs to provide assistance, and humanitarian aid groups say they’re resigned that they’ll be able to provide help to only a portion of the 2 million refugees outside Syria and the millions more who’ve fled their home but remain in Syria.

“The reality is, a huge amount of aid is needed and as long as countries are sending guns and ammunition rather than food or blankets, the crisis is only going to worsen,” said Noah Gottschalk, senior humanitarian policy adviser for Oxfam America, an international aid group that focuses on poverty and hunger.

“It’s not too late, but it’s getting closer and closer. The clock is ticking,” Gottschalk added, referring to the narrow window of opportunity to mobilize winter aid before communities begin to suffer and roads to some areas become impassable. [Continue reading…]

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