European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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© UNHCR/D.Khamissy

What are the needs?

The conflict in Syria is now in its seventh year, and has created an overwhelming and enduring humanitarian crisis. Millions of people are in need of emergency assistance such as medical and food assistance, water and shelter. The security situation is preventing aid workers from reaching those who are trapped by the fighting and who are in great need. Treating and evacuating the wounded is a priority and civilians who are trying to flee the fighting need urgent assistance and protection. Beyond emergency needs, shortages of all kinds are affecting the civilian population, including growing fuel shortages.

The continuous flow of Syrians seeking safety in the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and North Africa is bringing these countries to a dangerous saturation point. These countries need urgent support to continue keeping borders open and assisting refugees.

How are we helping?

The European Union is a leading donor to the international response to the crisis. More than €9.4 billion have been mobilised for relief and recovery assistance to Syrians in the country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. 

Humanitarian funding from the EU provides medical emergency relief, protection, food and nutritional assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, health, and logistics services. Beyond the Syrian border, EU funding ensures that people fleeing the country will receive life-saving assistance such as health, food, shelter, hygiene kits, water and sanitation services, and protection.

In March 2017, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy adopted a joint communication proposing a forward- looking EU strategy for Syria. The communication also looks at how the EU can continue its assistance to over 13 million people in need in Syria, help build resilience and stability in the country, and support post-agreement reconstruction and the voluntary, dignified and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons once a credible political transition is underway.

At the Brussels conference on 4-5 April 2017, "Supporting the future of Syria and the region", the international community pledged €5.6 billion in funding to support humanitarian, resilience and development activities in 2017 for the Syria crisis response. The EU is by far the largest donor with a collective pledge of more than €9.4 billion in response to the Syrian crisis since 2011, out of which €1.4 billion is from the EU humanitarian budget.

The EU calls for the respect of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the protection of civilians, especially children, women and other vulnerable groups, and condemns all indiscriminate attacks on civilians by all parties of the conflict. The EU also calls for all parties to the conflict to allow unhindered and sustained humanitarian access, across conflict lines as well as borders, to ensure safe delivery of humanitarian aid and medical care to all people in need.

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