U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced today the United States will provide $380 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the war in Syria. With this additional funding, the United States’ humanitarian assistance since the crisis began is more than $1.7 billion to help those suffering inside Syria, as well as refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries.
On December 16, 2013, the United Nations released the largest combined humanitarian appeal in its history, calling for $6.5 billion through the end of 2014 to provide food, water, medical care, and shelter to those affected by the crisis in Syria and refugees and host communities in the region. With today’s announcement, the United States continues its enduring commitment to provide urgent help for the children, women and men affected by Syria’s humanitarian crisis.
Though nearly all of Syria’s population is affected by the conflict, Syria’s youth are paying the heaviest toll. To keep children healthy, this U.S. government funding ensures vaccination campaigns for measles, rubella, and polio continue for millions of children in the region. The UN estimates that at least 3 million children have dropped out of school since the onset of the crisis, with approximately 2.2 million children out of school inside Syria. This funding supports programs to enhance Syrian children’s access to schools and safe learning spaces, as well as counseling for Syrian youth, the majority of whom have witnessed violence firsthand.
Today’s announcement will support the activities of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within Syria and for the regional refugee response in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt.
INSIDE SYRIA: More than $177 million
This new assistance inside Syria will support life-saving emergency medical care, funding for shelter and critical water, sanitation and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis. It will also provide much-needed counseling and protection programs to help the most vulnerable, including women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.
Of special concern are Syria’s children who have been traumatized by war and many of whom have been out of school for more than two years. The new funding will support children’s needs in education, nutrition, health, and psychosocial care, while also providing additional safe and nurturing spaces for Syria’s children to learn, play, and deal with the stresses of conflict.
There are now 9.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, and as the Middle East faces one of the worst winters in decades, this new assistance will also increase distributions of relief items with a special focus on winter supplies such as warm clothing, thermal blankets, and fuel for heating and cooking. U.S. humanitarian assistance reaches 4.2 million people across all of Syria’s 14 governorates.
LEBANON: More than $76 million
In Lebanon, the UN estimates that refugees from Syria now account for 18 percent of the total population. Today’s announcement increases support to these refugees and host communities. With the additional funding, UN and international organization partners can continue to deliver immediate cash assistance for food cards, rent assistance, education, healthcare and shelter assistance and basic relief items like blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits. The UN is using efficient electronic cards to distribute aid and reach more people in need.
The additional U.S. funding will also support job placement and expanded vocational training programs to empower refugees and host communities alike, including women and vulnerable groups.
The number of refugees from Syria now living in Lebanon includes more than 50,000 Palestinians. Living and social conditions are extremely challenging, particularly for this group. Most live in Palestinian camps that were overcrowded before the influx from Syria, with few resources and limited opportunities to improve their situation. Additional U.S. support to UNRWA in Lebanon provides needed aid, including cash, relief supplies, education, and medical care, to Palestinians in camps and other communities.
JORDAN: More than $61 million
In Jordan, one in ten refugee children are estimated to be working, which is some 30,000 Syrian
refugee boys and girls engaged in labor activities, according to Jordan’s Ministry of Labor. Our additional support to Syrians in Jordan aims to alleviate the need for children to go to work instead of school by funding continued cash assistance to cover refugees’ basic needs and shelter costs. As a result of an ongoing U.S.-supported “Back to School” campaign, the number of Syrian children enrolled in public schools in Jordan has risen to 78 percent of all eligible children. This is a considerable increase from early 2013 when less than 30 percent of eligible children were enrolled in school.
Approximately 80 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan live outside of refugee camps. Today’s announcement ensures the continuation of water and sanitation projects, mobile clinics, and immunization campaigns benefiting Jordanian communities.
U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of nearly 11,000 Palestinian refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria, helping vulnerable refugees access health care, educational services, clean water, cash assistance, and other necessities.
TURKEY: Nearly $31 million
The new U.S. government funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of Syrian refugees in Turkish camps, urban areas, and host communities. For example, funding to UNHCR will provide tents, blankets, kitchen sets, targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees, and technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps provide safe education and recreation spaces, teacher training, educational materials, and support-activities for trauma-affected children and youth. WFP provides refugees electronic food cards that allow families living in camps to purchase nutritious food items to meet their daily needs, and the World Health Organization coordinates the regional emergency health response to communicable diseases and will strengthen primary health care and disease surveillance, prevention and response.
IRAQ: Nearly $20 million
In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 95 percent of Syrian refugees in the country, and has provided more than 3,000 square miles of land for the establishment of 11 camp and transit sites. This new funding ensures that essential infrastructure projects providing water and sanitation services continue. Increased U.S. humanitarian assistance inside Iraq also helps provide transportation from the border to camps, and supports registration activities so that incoming Syrian refugees can access health and education services. U.S. support to UNICEF in Iraq helps to keep vulnerable refugee youth healthy by providing vaccinations and medical care. The new funding will also allow WFP to continue expanding programs aimed at reducing malnutrition among children in the first 1,000 days of life.
EGYPT: More than $12 million
The increased funding will provide assistance to Syrian refugees who continue to face significant challenges in Egypt. U.S. support will aid humanitarian partners in expanding assistance in major refugee-hosting cities outside of Cairo with community-focused projects for refugees and host families in an effort to address the deteriorating protection environment. Assistance will also target prevention of and responsiveness to gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, and improved access to health care services.
An additional $2.5 million will support UNHCR’s regional programs that are assisting Syrian refugees in Europe, North Africa, and the Gulf States.
For more detailed information on the U.S. government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, please visit: www.usaid.gov/crisis/syria.