No UN observer hurt in Syria blast

A handout photo released by the Syrian Arab News Agency shows vehicles burnt from an explosion near a hotel in Damascus housing U.N. observers.

An explosive detonated Wednesday (Aug. 15) near a hotel in Damascus housing U.N. observers, whose current mission in Syria is about to end in five days.

It’s not immediately clear if the mission is the target of the attack, which happened just outside the Dama Rose hotel. But Juliette Touma, U.N. mission spokeswoman, told The New York Times: “I can confirm that none of the U.N. members were injured.”

The blast, which reportedly injured three people, is just one of the many signs of rapidly deteriorating security in Syria one of the major factors impeding aid agencies’ relief efforts in the country.

People in Damascus whom U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos met Tuesday (Aug. 14) told her their needs: clean water, sanitation, food and medical help. But aid agencies have been failing to provide even these essentials due to insecurity, “administrative impediments and limited funding,” a European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department humanitarian expert in Syria wrote in a blog post on AlertNet.

“The situation is overstretching the capacity of the humanitarian community to respond to the limit,” the expert adds.

The death toll from the 17-month-old violence in Syria has risen to an estimated 17,000 people, the United Nations says. The crisis has also displaced some 1.2 million people, according to figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Read more news on Syria and development aid online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

Join the Discussion