Hoping to triple its budget to help the wounded and needy in Syria, the International Committee of the Red Cross pleaded Tuesday for nearly $27 million more to address the crisis in the country.
As many as 1.5 million people are short on food or water or otherwise affected by the violence, the group said. Tens of thousands more have fled to neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, where many are injured and suffering, Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger told reporters Tuesday.
"We are striving to bring them the help they urgently need by stepping up our emergency humanitarian response," Kellenberger said.
Aid agencies recently secured their first "humanitarian pause" in the fighting outside the capital, Damascus, a step they had long pushed to ensure aid would reach the needy. Access has also improved to other areas stricken by the fighting, the Red Cross said.
With the added money, the agency says it could provide food to roughly 100,000 of the most vulnerable people and other household supplies for 25,000 others, in addition to restocking hospitals and clinics and restoring water and other public services to hundreds of thousands more deprived people.
More than 10,000 people are believed to have died in the violence in Syria, including regime fighters, rebels and civilians. The crisis has also claimed the lives of two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and its secretary-general, the Red Cross said.
-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Photo: Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, appeals for funds to Syria during a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday. Credit: Salvatore Di Nolfi / Associated Press