The White House announced today that the United States is providing nearly $419 million in additional life-saving assistance for those affected by the war in Syria. This new funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to more than $1.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 and over $4.5 billion since the start of the crisis.
The funding supports the operations of the United Nations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and other international and non-governmental organizations. It will provide shelter, water, medical care, food, protection, and other necessities to millions of people suffering inside Syria and nearly four million refugees from Syria in the region. It also helps mitigate the impact of the crisis on governments and communities throughout the region that are straining to cope with the mass influx of refugees from Syria.
Part of the new funding will respond to the 2015 appeals of $8.4 billion from the United Nations for Syria and the region. It is important to note that even with this contribution, the UN appeals for humanitarian aid to address the crisis in Syria are only 38% funded, resulting in cutbacks to food and other essential services. Contributions from other donors are urgently needed and the United States continues to advocate for increased contributions through diplomacy and outreach. As the Assad regime continues to barrel bomb cities and attack civilian targets including schools, mosques, and hospitals, violent extremist groups like ISIL and al-Nusrah Front also continue to brutalize Syrians every day. In addition to the horror of war in Syria, we also see the plight of refugees fleeing the region to European countries and are reminded of the need to provide humanitarian assistance in countries of first asylum.
The United States recognizes that along with emergency relief, we must address the long-term development needs of Syria’s neighbors, and the funding we are providing supports communities in neighboring countries that have so generously hosted those refugees. There are over four million Syrian refugees in the world today, the vast majority of whom receive support in the first country to which they flee. It is our hope that by increasing humanitarian assistance and protection efforts in Syria and neighboring countries, Syrians will not be forced to seek assistance abroad at greater personal peril, and will also be able to return home more easily when the conflict ends.
The United States remains committed to assisting those affected by this terrible war and strongly urges all governments, organizations, and individuals concerned about the situation to support life-saving aid efforts of UN and other partners.