GENEVA - The United Nations is struggling to deliver humanitarian aid to an estimated 1 million people in Syria because of visa delays and the difficulty in reaching areas ravaged by fighting, UN and European Union officials said on Tuesday.
"We have the feeling that we are running behind a train of increasing speed - the train of humanitarian suffering. So while some progress has been achieved, the needs are deepening by the day, there is a need to accelerate," Claus Sorensen, Director-General of the European Humanitarian Office ECHO, told Reuters.The UN is hosting the Syrian Humanitarian Forum, the third in a series, in Geneva to try to expand access to hungry, sick or wounded civilians in the country reeling from 15 months of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
UN aid agencies have been largely shut out of Syria but have tried for months to launch a major aid operation. The plan was draw up after an assessment mission carried out with Syrian officials in March.
Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Syria's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, attended the closed-door talks. Also present was Radhouane Nouicer, UN regional humanitarian coordinator, who has been negotiating better access with Syrian authorities since the last forum on April 20.Read the full story here.