U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
The United States is providing more than $364 million in additional lifesaving humanitarian assistance for those affected by the war in Syria, as world leaders gathered during the UN General Assembly to galvanize significant new global commitments to increase support for refugees. This announcement, which brings U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to more than $5.9 billion since the start of the crisis, reflects the continued generosity of the American people and demonstrates steadfast U.S. commitment to helping address the unprecedented magnitude of suffering and urgent needs.
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 other international and nongovernmental organizations.
As part of U.S. efforts to galvanize significant new global commitments for refugee assistance, President Obama hosted a high-level summit on refugees at the UN General Assembly on September 20. This event marked the culmination of a vigorous, sustained diplomatic effort undertaken by the United States since last year to increase humanitarian assistance, access to resettlement and other legal forms of admission, and refugee self-reliance and inclusion through employment and education. While this major effort is essential to the response, contributions from other donors are crucial to meeting emergency needs.
Highlights of Humanitarian Assistance:
NGOs: more than $205 million
Non-governmental organizations work to meet the needs of displaced persons in the region and inside Syria, working closely alongside communities and often operating in areas of Syria where UN agencies cannot. This funding will assist people inside Syria with food assistance in the form of household food parcels, flour to bakeries, and food vouchers. United States government support to NGOs, assisting both people inside Syria and Syrian refugees, includes funding for shelter, meeting basic needs, support to education, access to health and mental health care, and restoring a sense of normalcy to people whose lives have been upended. NGO programming also seeks to support host communities, including the most vulnerable members. The countries hosting refugees have suffered serious impacts from the war in Syria and undergone tremendous change in a short time, necessitating international support to meet longer term needs for their own populations, as well as refugees.
UNHCR: more than $51 million
UNHCR’s Syria operation is the organization’s largest refugee assistance operation in the world; UNHCR provides life-saving assistance to the internally displaced and continuous support to vulnerable refugees across the region. This funding allows UNHCR to continue providing displaced persons with shelter, protection (including registration, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and mental health support), and basic necessities, either in-kind such as blankets, bedding, and cooking utensils, where appropriate, or through cash assistance. UNHCR seeks to meet refugee needs in camps but is increasingly focused on assistance to non-camp refugees and host communities, where more than 90% of Syrian refugees reside. UNHCR also works in the areas of education, health care and employment support across the region.
UNICEF: nearly $39 million
Syria’s children constitute half of Syria’s refugees and internally displaced persons. Many Syrian children in Syria 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. Funding included in today’s announcement allows UNICEF to continue education programs as a new school year begins, demonstrating the United States’ strong support of the No Lost Generation initiative to invest in the future of the region. In addition, UNICEF implements child protection and health programs, as well as critical water and sanitation, youth, and winter assistance programs throughout the region.
UNRWA: nearly $31 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. Despite constraints to access and regular conflict affecting many of Syria’s Palestinian refugee camps, UNRWA continues to provide assistance throughout the country, including food and cash to help displaced families meet their daily needs. UNRWA’s mobile and regular health clinics provided more than one million primary healthcare consultations in 2015, and the Agency continues to deliver educational services to more than 43,000 students, while the agency’s self-learning materials have allowed children access to educational materials despite limited options for movement. Beyond Syria, UNRWA provides emergency cash assistance for Palestinian refugees from Syria who have fled to Jordan and Lebanon, as well as education and health services. These efforts are supported by U.S. assistance, in conjunction with the rest of the international donor community.
WFP: nearly $6 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 its lifeline of air-dropped food to the besieged residents of the city of Deir ez-Zor, who rely on WFP’s household food parcels.
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country
INSIDE SYRIA: More than $269 million
New total since FY 2012: Nearly $3.1 billion
The humanitarian crisis inside of Syria continues to outweigh the international humanitarian response. As the largest single donor to the humanitarian response, U.S. humanitarian assistance provides critical, lifesaving support to millions of people in every affected area of Syria, including through cross-line and cross-border operations. The new U.S. contribution continues to support 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 United States 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 $36 million
New total since FY 2012: More than $1.2 billion
Today’s announcement provides additional support to both refugees and Lebanese host communities. The additional U.S. funding will support access to safe water for Syrian refugees and the communities that host them through infrastructure improvements; assistance to refugees to cope with additional needs during the winter, such as warm clothing, fuel and reinforced shelters; continued provision of vaccinations for children; and primary health consultations for refugees and vulnerable Lebanese.
This announcement includes funding for ten non-governmental organizations for programs in all regions of Lebanon. For example, one program will work in the most vulnerable urban neighborhoods affected by refugee arrivals to make basic upgrades to the safety of sub-standard shelters where refugees are living, in cooperation with landlords. Other projects will provide early childhood education to the youngest refugee children in the Bekaa and Akkar regions to get them ready to enter Lebanese public schools and provide them a safe space to learn and grow. Non-governmental organization projects also include support for mental health care, emergency assistance to severely vulnerable families, and services to women and girls who have been victims of gender-based violence.
JORDAN: More than $19 million
New total since the start of the crisis: Nearly $814 million
U.S. funding will continue to support refugees living in camps, including expansion of services such as health and education at Azraq camp to accommodate new arrivals in early 2016. Funding will also support non-camp refugees with cash assistance to meet basic needs like rent and clothing; maternal health care; programs for children and youth including education support; preparing for winter; and sanitation improvements to benefit Syrians and Jordanians. U.S. funding also supports services such as refugee registration, legal assistance for refugees registering a marriage or the birth of a child, information helplines, and training for teachers, police and other Jordanian actors on working with refugee populations. U.S funding includes support to UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM to provide life- saving assistance for the nearly 80,000 Syrians stranded at the Jordanian border.
This funding includes support to 11 non-governmental organizations for programs across Jordan. One program helps disabled refugee and Jordanian children across northern Jordan acquire hearing aids and assistive equipment so they can go to school and become a part of their communities. Another program has established community centers for refugees and Jordanian in Karak and Ma’an governorates including activities for youth and elderly people. U.S. programs cover a wide range of activities from literacy training for refugee women, to shelter construction, to mental healthcare for refugees and Jordanians in public health clinics.
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: More than $25 million
New total since FY 2012: Nearly $440 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 provides access to legal protection, greater psychosocial support and prevention of gender based violence, and targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees; provides tents, blankets, and winter supplies;; and provides technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps build additional schools, pay teachers’ stipends to provide quality education, buy school supplies and provide programming for children that emphasizes life skills. Support for the International Organization of Migration supports school transportation, mental health support, and winter supplies. Support to the International Labor Organization expands livelihoods programming including vocational training.
This funding also includes support to seven non-governmental organizations for programs across Turkey. These programs cover a range of activities, such as educational programming including language and vocational training; programs to promote social cohesion with host communities, as well as mental health and psychosocial support for Syrian refugee children. One program provides psychosocial training and stipends to volunteer teachers, to reach 5,000 refugee children in Sanliurfa with education programming that promotes lifelong learning and civic participation. Another program strengthens local capacity to improve access to primary health, mental health, and vocational education services for more than 160,000 refugees in Istanbul, Izmir, Sakarya, and Kilis.
IRAQ: More than $7 million
New total since FY 2012: More than $251 million
In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 97 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 $112 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.
To view the funding numbers by country and organization, please view the attached spreadsheets.
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