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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 10 December 2012

EU boosts its funding for Syria to keep up with increasing humanitarian needs

The European Commission is to provide additional humanitarian funding of €30 million to help people affected by the Syrian crisis, bringing its total contribution to over €126 million.

The new aid will target approximately 2 million people in Syria, and a considerable number of the more than 474,000 Syrians who have fled across the borders. Humanitarian assistance will also be given to vulnerable host communities of the displaced inside Syria and in Jordan and Lebanon. The new financial contribution will cover health care for the wounded and others in need of emergency treatment, shelter, food, water, sanitation and household items.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for Humanitarian Aid, Civil Protection and Crisis Response, said: "With the onset of winter and intensive fighting throughout the country, the humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating daily. The suffering civilians are on the move and struggling with a worsening crisis – over 1.2 million are displaced in Syria itself and almost half a million across the borders to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. This dire situation calls for a new gesture of Europe's solidarity with the Syrian people and their hosts until a viable political solution to this terrible conflict can be found."

Today's surge of aid brings the humanitarian assistance from the European Commission and the Member States of the European Union to over €310 million – more than half of all international humanitarian aid to the crisis.

The aid will be implemented by the Commission's humanitarian partners including UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent family and International Non-Government Organisations.

Background

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically in the last weeks as violence has intensified and fighting has continued to spread throughout the entire country. An estimated 4 million people are affected by the violence. By UN estimates, at least 1,200,000 have been internally displaced in Syria. There are now over 474,000 refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and North Africa. Every day of violence adds to these numbers.

Concern is growing for the around 87,000 Iraqi and 500,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria whose vulnerability is increasing with a growing number of fatalities.

The escalating violence in the country is making it harder and more dangerous for humanitarian workers to do their jobs. Attacks on humanitarian workers continue. So far, seven Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and eight UN staff members have been killed doing their humanitarian work, and ambulances and UN vehicles are still being attacked.

Emergency needs 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.

All parties must comply with international humanitarian law to protect civilians and make access possible. Attacks against civilians, including humanitarian workers, are inhumane, illegal and must stop. 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.

Funding

Prior to this new funding allocation, the European Commission had already budgeted €90 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria and neighbouring states, with an additional €6 million allocated to Iraqi refugees based in Syria. Other funding Instruments of the European Union have mobilised €85 million in response to the Syrian crisis.

At this stage, the breakdown of EU humanitarian funding is 45% inside Syria and the rest distributed between Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

European Union Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) have also mobilised humanitarian funding of over €184 million.

Eight EU countries and Norway have also provided assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, after an appeal launched by the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre for aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan.

For more information

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Arabic website of European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://echo-arabic.eu

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

Commissioner Georgieva's Twitter and Facebook account:

https://twitter.com/kgeorgievaeu

http://www.facebook.com/KristalinaGeorgieva

Contacts :

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)


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