Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, has appealed to world leaders to get involved politically and diplomatically in the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

He singled out the conflict in Syria as needing particular attention from the international community: “What is happening in Syria is a big tragedy which is unfolding in front of our eyes and something has to be done.”

He was speaking at the UN World Food Programme in Rome. He was there to launch a massive global appeal with Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The US$8.5 billion appeal will help an estimated 51 million people around the world in 2013.

Read more about the appeal.