The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today (Sunday) announced additional humanitarian funding of €2 million in response the ongoing crisis in Syria and the region, as well as funding of €9.5 million for the worldwide operations of two of Ireland’s key humanitarian partners, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Minister Flanagan is currently in Turkey during the visit of President Higgins to the region. The Minister has met with Foreign Minister, Cavusoglu.
"I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the refugee crisis in this region with my Turkish counterpart, Minister Cavusoglu, and to consider how Ireland can help alleviate the plight of refugees in Syria and the wider region.
“The ongoing violence and chaos in Syria has resulted in immense human suffering and displacement. I am pleased to announce that Ireland will provide an additional €2 million in funding towards the crisis in Syria and the region. This funding will be used to support those in desperate need of assistance within Syria, as well as to help those neighbouring countries which have come under increasing pressure trying to cope with the needs of Syrian refugees fleeing from conflict.”
Of this funding, €1 million will be channelled through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and €1 million will be provided to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which supports 5 million vulnerable Palestinian refugees displaced across the Middle East.
Minister Flanagan added:
“With this funding, the ICRC will be able to distribute food and other essential supplies, to provide clean water , and to reunite families separated by conflict, as well as to provideurgent medical care to tens of thousands of sick and wounded people both within Syria and in neighbouring countries affected by the conflict.
"In light of the crisis affecting Yarmouk camp within Syria, previously home to over 200,000 Palestinians, UNRWA will be able to use Ireland’s funding to provide education, health care and shelter for vulnerable Palestinian refugee familiessuffering profound hardship as a result of the violence in Syria, and who have no other means of support.”
"These two allocations form part of Ireland’s recent pledge of €12 million in support of the Syrian people in 2015, which will bring Ireland’s total support for the Syria crisis to €41 million by the end of this year."
Notes 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.www.irishaid.ie
•Since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, more than 220,000 people have been killed. Approximately 12.2 million people, over half of Syria’s population of 22 million, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately 7.6 million of these people are displaced within Syria, while millions more are refugees. The most urgent humanitarian needs inside the country are protection, health care, shelter, food and water and sanitation. Prior to the conflict, Syria was classified as a country of ‘medium human development’, but has moved from being the world’s second-largest refugee-hosting country, to being the largest refugee-producing country within just seven years.
•There are over 3.9 million registered refugees in neighbouring countries, more than half of them children. There are 1.7 million refugees in Turkey, nearly 1.2 million in Lebanon, 628,000 in Jordan and 247,000 in Iraq, with smaller numbers in North Africa. This poses a particular strain for Jordan and Lebanon, small countries where refugees are now a huge percentage of the population. Within Syria, 280,000 Palestinian refugees have been internally displaced by the current conflict. Smaller numbers of Palestinian refugees previously residing in Syria have been forced to flee to Lebanon and Jordan.
•The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. There are serious concerns about the situation of the 4.8 million people that live in hard-to-reach areas, particularly the 212,000 people who reside in communities that are besieged by either the Syrian Government or armed opposition forces. And there are ongoing serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws. While a political solution to this crisis is sought, efforts to protect civilians and deliver much-needed aid to people at risk must continue.
•At the recent UN Pledging Conference for Syria, which took place in Kuwait on 31 March, Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North-South Cooperation Sean Sherlock TD, announced an additional pledge of €12 million on behalf of the Irish government which will be used to provide lifesaving assistance to those in need in Syria and in neighbouring countries over the course of 2015. This pledge will bring Ireland’s total contribution to the Syria crisis to €41 million by the end of 2015.
•To date in 2015, Ireland has provided €5.3 million in support to Syria and the region through UNICEF (€1m), the World Food Programme (€1.5 m), the UN Refugee Agency’s office in Jordan (€800,000), the International Committee of the Red Cross (€1m) and UNRWA (€1 m).