Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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What are the needs?

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically in recent months. In neighbouring countries, the number of refugees has now reached over 2.5 million, registered and awaiting registration, in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and North Africa. This number is continuing to rise as hostilities grow. The High Commissioner for Refugees office (UNHCR) predicts more than 4 million refugees from Syria by the end of 2014.

The continuous influx of Syrians is increasing the burden on the host communities and is fuelling tensions in some areas. Countries bordering Syria are approaching a dangerous saturation point and they need urgent support to continue keeping borders open and assisting refugees. Assessment of the conditions of refugees living outside the camps is needed as well as humanitarian aid (especially shelter and water, hygiene and sanitation). Also, the escalating violence and increased insecurity in the country is making it harder and more dangerous for humanitarian workers to do their jobs. Attacks on humanitarian workers continue. 

Emergency needs such as medical and food assistance, shelter and winterization have increased in the country. Treating and evacuating the wounded are a priority. Civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection. Beyond emergency needs, shortages of all kinds are affecting the civilian population, including growing fuel shortages. 

The Commission is in daily contact with its humanitarian partners and is coordinating its humanitarian activities with EU Member States and all other significant donors. 

Our priorities are to give aid to the displaced people in Syria and to give adequate assistance to the Syrian refugees hosted in other countries.

How are we helping?

Europe is the world's largest donor to the international response to the crisis. The European Commission has, since the end of 2011 and in direct response to the crisis, mobilised €615 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria and neighbouring countries. A further €868 million has also been mobilised through other EU instruments (i.e. for education, support to host communities and local societies), bringing the total funding from the EU budget to over €1.5 billion million. This includes the €165 million pledged at the International Pledging Conference on 15 January 2014 known as Kuwait II. 

In addition, the EU Member States have provided over €1.3 billion in humanitarian aid to Syrians affected by the conflict which with the overall pledge at Kuwait II from Member States, brings the total EU contribution to over €2.8 billion.

Certain Member States – Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia, Norway, Austria and Luxembourg - also provided in-kind assistance through the EU's Emergency Response Centre (formally the EU Monitoring and Information Centre - MIC).

  • In Syria, the European Commission's humanitarian funding provides medical emergency relief, protection, food-nutritional assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and logistics services. 
  • Beyond the Syrian border, the 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. 
  • At this stage, the breakdown of EU funding is: 45% inside Syria, 26% in Lebanon, 21% in Jordan and the rest distributed between Iraq and Turkey. 

ECHO funding is channeled through the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, various INGOs and UN humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR and those whose mandate focuses on the protection and assistance of women and children, such as UNICEF, UNFPA and Save the Children.

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