Open Eyes Opinion
U.S. Humanitarian Aid
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
Secretary Kerry announced today that the United States is providing nearly $439 million in additional lifesaving humanitarian assistance for those affected by the war in Syria.
This new funding brings U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to nearly $5.6 billion since the start of the crisis.
This new announcement reflects the generosity of the American people and demonstrates U.S. commitment to helping address the unprecedented magnitude of suffering and urgent needs.
The Syrian conflict remains the largest and most complex humanitarian emergency of our time, with more than two-thirds of Syria’s pre-war population—over 18 million people—in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria.
Through this humanitarian funding, the United States continues to provide emergency food, shelter, safe drinking water, medical care, humanitarian protection services, and other urgent relief to millions of people suffering inside Syria and the more than 4.8 million refugees from Syria in the region.
The funding will also help mitigate the impact of the crisis on governments and communities throughout the region that are straining to cope as they continue to host refugees from Syria.
The humanitarian assistance supports the operations of the United Nations, other international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Through these organizations, the United States is able to provide assistance in all 14 governorates of Syria, helping the people who need it most—ultimately saving lives and alleviating human suffering amid daily threats of violence and deprivation.
Our assistance supports critical humanitarian needs, including those addressed in the 2016 UN appeal of nearly $8 billion for Syria and the region.
Part of the new funding responds directly to the appeal, while the remainder provides humanitarian assistance for these affected populations through funding to UN agencies and to other partners. Contributions from other donors are crucial to meeting emergency needs in 2016. The Assad regime and its supporters continue to barrel bomb cities, use starvation as a weapon of war, and target civilians in schools, mosques, markets, and hospitals, while violent extremist groups like Daesh and al-Nusrah Front (al Qaeda in Syria) also brutalize Syrians daily.
The United States reiterates that all parties to the conflict must cease unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law. In addition to the horror of war in Syria, we also see the plight of refugees fleeing beyond the region to European countries and are reminded of the need to provide humanitarian assistance and to assist hosting countries in promoting inclusion and self-reliance in countries of first asylum.
The United States recognizes that along with emergency relief, we must address the long-term development needs of Syria’s neighbors, and the funding we are providing will continue to support communities in neighboring countries that have so generously hosted those refugees.
There are more than 4.8 million refugees from Syria in the region today, the vast majority of whom receive support in the first country to which they flee. As we saw with the exodus to Europe last year, Syrians who cannot find protection and assistance in Syria and neighboring countries, make difficult decisions to undertake dangerous journeys at great personal peril. We encourage all countries to receive refugees humanely, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The humanitarian crises around the world have made painfully clear that despite our best efforts, all nations must do more. As President Obama said, “The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents, they are children, they are orphans. And it is very important … that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence.”
U.S. efforts to galvanize significant new global commitments will build toward a high-level summit on refugees hosted by President Obama at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
This event will be the culmination of a vigorous, sustained diplomatic effort undertaken by the United States since last year and over the coming months to increase humanitarian assistance, access to resettlement and other legal forms of admission, and refugee self-reliance and inclusion through employment and education.
The United States remains committed to assisting those affected by this terrible war and strongly urges all governments, organizations, and individuals concerned about the situation to support the lifesaving aid efforts of the UN and other humanitarian partners.
Highlights of Humanitarian Assistance:
UNHCR: $130 million
UNHCR’s Syria operation is now the organization’s largest refugee assistance operation; UNHCR provides both immediate support to new refugees and continuous support to vulnerable refugees. UNHCR also works with other UN agencies to assist persons in need inside Syria. The funding allows UNHCR to continue providing refugees and internally-displaced persons with shelter, protection (including registration, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and mental health support), and daily necessities, either in-kind such as blankets, bedding, and cooking utensils or through cash assistance. UNHCR’s efforts are increasingly focused on assistance to non-camp refugees and host communities as well as refugees in camps. In various locations throughout the region, in addition to the above, UNHCR also works in the areas of education, health care and employment support.
UNICEF: Nearly $88 million
Syria’s children continue to pay a heavy toll in the conflict. They constitute half of Syria’s refugees and internally displaced persons. Inside Syria, more than two million children are out of school and one of every four schools has been damaged or destroyed. As a result, many Syrian children in the country have little or no access to educational opportunities, and those arriving in neighboring countries as refugees are behind in schooling and face limited education opportunities. Today’s announcement allows UNICEF to continue child protection, education, child health, and water and sanitation programs, as well as vaccinations campaigns throughout the region, demonstrating the United States’ strong support of the No Lost Generation initiative to invest in the future of the region.
UNRWA: $25 million
Of the estimated 560,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria, nearly 110,000 have been forced to flee to surrounding countries and beyond. An estimated two of every three Palestinian refugees who continues to live in Syria has been displaced multiple times, with every refugee camp in the country affected by significant clashes between various parties, and some 47,000 Palestinian refugees living in besieged or hard-to-reach areas. Despite these challenges, UNRWA continues to provide assistance throughout the country, including through mobile and regular health clinics, where the agency provided more than one million primary healthcare consultations in 2015. Inside Syria, UNRWA continues to deliver educational services to more than 45,000 students, while the agency’s self-learning materials have continued to allow children access to educational materials despite limited options for movement. Beyond Syria, UNRWA is providing cash for food assistance, as well as education and health services—all of which is supported by U.S. assistance along with the rest of the international donor community.
WHO: Nearly $18 million
The weakened health system in Syria has left millions of people across the country with limited access to even basic medical care. Over half of health facilities in Syria are either out of service or only partially functioning and face critical shortages in life saving and essential medicines. Health facilities continue to be attacked forcing the closure of numerous medical facilities. Estimates are that half of all health professionals have left Syria since the onset of the conflict. New USG funding will support life-saving trauma case management, surgical care and physical rehabilitation, strengthen health coordination, enhance primary health care, provide immunization support, and scale up prevention, early detection and the treatment of malnutrition in children.
WFP: More than $17 million
Millions of people in Syria cannot independently fulfill their basic food needs and risk going hungry without continued international assistance. New USG funding will enable WFP to continue vital food assistance to millions of conflict-affected people inside Syria. With USG support, WFP will continue to provide inside Syria monthly household food parcels, flour to bakeries, and nutritional products to prevent acute malnutrition.
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country
INSIDE SYRIA: More than $231 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $2.8 billion
U.S. humanitarian assistance provides critical, lifesaving support to millions of people in every affected area of Syria. The new U.S. contribution supports emergency food assistance, including monthly household food parcels, flour to bakeries, and food vouchers. The contribution also supports medical care, cash assistance for emergency needs, funding for shelters and water, sanitation, and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis. It also provides critical relief supplies and much-needed counseling and protection programs to help the most vulnerable, including children, women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.
Included in this funding, the U.S. is supporting UNRWA’s emergency operations inside Syria, giving life-saving aid to the estimated 450,000 Palestinian refugees who remain in the country.
LEBANON: More than $84 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $1.2 billion
The UN estimates that Lebanon is the highest per capita refugee host country in the world, with over one million refugees from Syria in addition to 450,000 registered Palestinian refugees. Today’s announcement provides additional support to both refugees and Lebanese host communities. With the additional funding, the UN and international organization partners in Lebanon can continue to vaccinate children, rehabilitate shelters, and improve access to safe water for Syrian refugees and the communities that host them. The UN can also continue to deliver basic and emergency health care services, support the enrollment of more than 159,000 children in public schools, and assist refugees with specific protection and safety concerns.
The additional U.S. funding also supports vulnerable Lebanese communities hosting refugees by rehabilitating their municipal water and sanitation systems, supporting local community centers, providing supplies and new equipment to health clinics, and improving school facilities. Not only do these services provide vulnerable communities much-needed relief, they also promote social cohesion between the refugee and host country populations.
The funding will also support UNRWA’s emergency response, which is assisting the more than 41,000 Palestinian refugees who have fled Syria and sought safety in Lebanon, helping to ensure Palestinian refugee children receive relief assistance, continued educational opportunities and access to health and social services, shelter, and psychological support.
JORDAN: Nearly $65 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $795 million
In Jordan, 80 percent of Syrian refugees live in Jordanian towns and cities—not refugee camps. While U.S. funding will continue to support refugees living in camps, it also supports non-camp refugees seeking to ensure all refugees are registered. The funding will provide cash assistance to meet basic needs, maternal and child health care, and water and sanitation improvement to benefit Syrians and Jordanians alike. This funding provides for activities in child and adolescent-friendly spaces as well as the expansion of services in Azraq camp.
U.S funding includes support to UNHCR at the regional level to provide life- saving assistance for the 80,000 Syrians stranded at the Jordanian border.
U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of more than 16,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria, by providing them with cash assistance for essential needs and helping them to access health care and educational services.
TURKEY: Nearly $36 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $415 million
U.S. funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of over 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkish urban areas, host communities, and camps. Funding to UNHCR supports a country-wide joint reverification exercise of all Syrians in Turkey, provides access to legal protection, greater psychosocial support and prevention of gender based violence; tents, blankets, and kitchen sets; targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees; and technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps build additional schools, pay teachers’ stipends to provide quality education, buys school supplies and provides programming for children that emphasizes life skills. Support for the International Organization for Migration supports school transportation, mental health support, and shelter.
IRAQ: Nearly $16 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $244 million
In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 96 percent of Syrian refugees in the country, and has provided more than 2,000 square miles of land for the establishment of 10 camps. This additional funding aims to repair health centers, repair and upgrade shelters, expand and rehabilitate schools, and improve water and sanitation systems in refugee and host communities, as well as to manage and maintain camps. Funding will also support initiatives targeting women and girls, vocational and language training, literacy training, and reproductive health, in addition to raising awareness about gender-based violence and early marriage issues. Assistance will also provide child protection activities, including recreational activities and psychosocial care, as well as support to government-provided services such as education through trainings of teachers and provision of essential supplies.
EGYPT: Nearly $5 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $107 million
Our funding will help to provide increasingly critical protection and assistance to 118,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt. All refugees in Egypt live in urban spaces, and must therefore compete with locals for access to jobs, seats in oversubscribed schools, and even for primary healthcare assistance. The U.S. contribution enables humanitarian partners to expand assistance in major refugee-hosting cities such as Cairo and Alexandria with community focused projects for refugees and host families in an effort to address the deteriorating protection environment. Assistance also targets prevention of and responsiveness to, sexual and gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, and improved access to health care services. As thousands of Syrians arrive in Egypt annually (primarily via flight to Sudan and irregular land crossings into Egypt), a robust humanitarian response will be key to prevent Syrians from hazarding a perilous sea crossing for Europe, which IOM reports has increased ten-fold in 2016.
Funding Numbers by Country*
|Country||This Announcement||Total – Since FY 2012|
|Inside Syria||$231 million||$2.8 billion|
|Lebanon||$84 million||$1.2 billion|
|Jordan||$65 million||$795 million|
|Turkey||$36 million||$415 million|
|Iraq||$16 million||$244 million|
|Egypt||$5 million||$107 million|
|Regional||$ 2 million||$13 million|
|TOTAL||$439 million||$5.6 billion|
*Figures are rounded to the nearest million and may not sum to total due to rounding
Funding Numbers by Organization*
|Organization||This Announcement||Total – Since FY 2012|
|UNHCR||$130 million||$1.4 billion|
|NGOs||$116 million||$1.5 billion|
|UNICEF||$88 million||$553 million|
|ICRC||$32 million||$212 million|
|UNRWA||$25 million||$354 million|
|WHO||$18 million||$63 million|
|WFP||$17 million||$1.3 billion|
|IOM||$4 million||$59 million|
|UNFAO||$4 million||$8 million|
|OCHA||$3 million||$13 million|
|Other (admin)||$1 million||$8 million|
|UNFPA||$1 million||$40 million|
|Other Organizations||$23 million|
|TOTAL||$439 million||$5.6 billion|
*Figures are rounded to the nearest million and may not sum to total due to rounding
For more detailed information on the U.S. Government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, please visit: www.usaid.gov/crisis/syria
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