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More EU support for the victims of Syria's humanitarian crisis

Syrian refugees walk through woods helped by rebels from the Free Syrian Army as they attempt to cross the northwestern part of the Syrian border with neighbouring Turkey (c) Belga/AFP photos/ Giorgos Moutafis
23/03/2012  - 

The European Commission is allocating an additional €7 million to finance life-saving assistance to those who have been wounded or forced to flee the ongoing violence in Syria. This brings the overall contribution by the Commission to €10 million.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, who has repeatedly called for full and independent access for humanitarian workers, said: ‘Every day, the situation inside Syria becomes more and more dramatic. One year of escalating violence has caused massive suffering among the Syrian population. Too many civilians have died. Too many families are forced to flee their homes. A large part of the population now experiences shortages of food, fuel and medical care.

‘I am gravely concerned for those who urgently need humanitarian support to survive. It is for their sake that we are boosting our support to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations and that we are supporting all initiatives aimed at facilitating urgent humanitarian access. A daily humanitarian truce is absolutely vital in order to provide assistance when people are in most dire need of help. The Commission is fully mobilised to help meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people both inside and outside the country through the work of humanitarian organisations an in accordance to the humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality.’

This new funding will continue to help the Syrians who have fled beyond the country’s borders to seek protection. It will also provide more help to those who have remained in Syria once unimpeded access is possible. The money will go towards emergency health assistance, protection activities (mainly visits to detainees) and food assistance inside Syria. In neighbouring countries the aid will include emergency health assistance, the registration of refugees, food assistance to both the Syrian refugees and host families and the distribution of items such as blankets, kitchen equipment, fuel. In addition, the funding of trauma support is planned.

The Commission will channel the funding through its humanitarian partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Information on the situation on the ground in Syria still remains scarce, due to humanitarian agencies’ severely limited access to the areas where violence is most prevalent. However, through partial access to victims, the first funding decision of €3 million was used to protect medical missions, to provide medical assistance to hospitals and medical facilities, and to protect people who had fled their homes and found safety in neighbouring countries. 

According to the UN, killings and human rights violations in Syria have resulted in more than 9 381 deaths.  It is estimated that between 1.5 and 3 million people are affected by the violence. More than 36 000 people have already sought refuge in neighbouring countries, mainly Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but also to Iraq and Libya.