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Ireland increases humanitarian support to victims of the Syria crisis


Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, T.D. and the Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, T.D., today announced a further package of €2.95 million in funding to support victims of the continuing Syria crisis. This funding will be given to Ireland’s UN partners delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance within Syria and in the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees.

Announcing the funding, which will be drawn from Irish Aid’s humanitarian budget, Minster Flanagan said:

“Over the last five years, the situation for Syrians in their home country has deteriorated steadily, with more than 250,000 people already having been killed, while millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

“Ireland has been responding to this crisis since 2012, providing needs-based humanitarian assistance through our UN, Red Cross and NGO partners. Earlier this year, Ireland pledged €12 million in support for the Syrian people for 2015.

“As this crisis has continued to spread, it is appropriate that we now step up our response. I am pleased that today’s funding announcement of a further €2.95 million will bring to €13 million the humanitarian support we will have provided to Syria this year, bringing our total support since 2012 to €42 million.”

Minster Sherlock added:

“When I visited Jordan in October I had the opportunity to meet with Syrian refugees, and was struck by their desire to see their children getting an education there and building a future, but for many this was beyond reach.

“Children who are fleeing war have no hand or control in their fate. Education is a global right and one we must ensure is delivered in these most challenging of situations

“Under this package of funding, €1 million will support UNICEF’s work under the ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative, which delivers education and child protection Syrian children, giving them and their parents hope for the future.

“Ireland is able to support the development of water and sanitation facilities at Azraq camp in Jordan, since the need for this was clear during my visit there.”

In addition to the Syria funding announced today, a further €1.25 million has been allocated go to Ireland’s UN and Red Cross partners in Yemen where 80% of the population – over 20 million people – are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

In addition, €250,000 will go to support UNICEF’s work in Iraq, where it is working with vulnerable women and children, since Iraq now has one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world.

This brings total humanitarian funding announced today for the Middle East region to €4.45 million.


Press Office

14 December 2015

Note to editors

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Five years of increasingly complex conflict in Syria has triggered the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Within Syria, 7.6 million people have been displaced, perhaps as many as 13 million need humanitarian assistance, and more than 4.2 million have fled their home country. This crisis has had a huge impact on Syria’s immediate neighbours –Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Today’s announcement includes €1 million to UNHCR’s response to this crisis.
  • The total number of people requiring humanitarian aid within Syria still greatly exceeds the number of refugees who have fled the country. Of the 13.5 million people in Syria in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, more than 4.5 million are in hard to reach locations and more than 390,000 are besieged.
  • Minister of State Seán Sherlock visited Azraq refugee camp in Jordan in October 2015, and saw first-hand the very harsh conditions in which refugees fleeing conflict in Syria are living. Today’s announcement includes €500,000 to UNICEF in Jordan is for water and sanitation work in the Azraq refugee camp, increasing sustainability in this long-drawn out crisis.
  • More than 2 million children in Syria, and 700,000 in refugee-hosting countries, no longer attend school. There is a high risk of creating a generation of under-qualified and disaffected youth. Today’s announcement includes €1 million to UNICEF’s ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative which supports education, child protection and engagement of adolescents in their communities.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) works inside Syria, and with refugees in neighbouring countries. WFP reaches more than 4 million people in Syria every month with food ration distributions. Today’s announcement includes €450,000 in support of WFP’s response to the Syria crisis.
  • The conflict in Yemen has spread rapidly across the country since March 2015, involving armed intervention by Gulf States, with devastating consequences for civilians. In a country already struggling with drought and poor crop yields, the UN estimates that 21.1 million people, 80% of the population, require humanitarian assistance, making this one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. The conflict poses significant danger to humanitarian workers, and access to affected populations is a major challenge.
  • Today’s announcement includes €750,000 to the International Red Cross and €500,000 to the UN Humanitarian Pooled Fund for Yemen (YHPF) to respond to this crisis. Already in 2015, Ireland has given €500,000 in support to the YHPF, and €100,000 to Oxfam’s work in Yemen. Ireland’s support to the crisis in Yemen will now reach €1.85 million in 2015.
  • The crisis in Iraq has unfolded extremely rapidly since early 2014, following a period of relative stability. As ISIS has taken over considerable territory, 3.2 million people are displaced from their homes. Today’s announcement of €250,000 to support UNICEF’s work in Iraq, brings total Irish support to Iraq in 2015 to €1.58 million.