Prime Minister to see first hand how UK aid is helping most vulnerable Syrian refugees


David Cameron visits Lebanon and outlines details of the extra £100 million package to help Syrian refugees.

  • The UK’s contribution in aid for refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey now stands at £1 billion

The Prime Minister will visit Lebanon today to see first hand how UK aid is helping the most vulnerable people who have been driven from their homes in Syria. While there, as the UK’s aid contribution reaches £1 billion, he will outline the details of the extra £100 million package to help Syrian refugees, including £40 million to be used in the region surrounding Syria.

The £40 million will be allocated to the UN and NGO (non-governmental organisation) partners working in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, including British aid agencies like Save the Children, providing shelter, food, relief packages, health and protection services, as well as cash assistance – giving individuals the freedom to decide how best to cover their needs.

Up to £29 million will go to Lebanon – host to 1.1 million Syrian refugees, or over a quarter of Lebanon’s population. The aid will help refugees and impoverished host communities cope, helping to reduce tensions between those communities and lower the risk of conflict in Lebanon which, if it broke out, could lead to more displacement of people who may look to come to Europe. Some of the aid assistance will also focus on Palestinian refugees (via United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), and support to Lebanese municipalities (via United Nations Development Programme).

The new support to Lebanon will provide:

  • food packages or vouchers for over 250,000 refugees living in Lebanon and the most vulnerable people in communities hosting refugees
  • relief packages for thousands of refugees, with items such as thermal blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, fuel and heating stoves, cooking stoves and kitchen utensils
  • psychosocial consultations for children and counselling for adults to help them work through the trauma they have experienced
  • child-friendly spaces offering a safe place for children to play, study and spend the day
  • support for agencies working to reduce the incidence and impact of sexual and gender based violence against women and girls, including counselling, legal services and safe spaces
  • food, water, relief packages, health and protection assistance for over 21,000 Palestinian refugees
  • support to help Lebanese municipalities cope with the increased populations in villages and towns.

Up to £6 million will help Jordan – host to over 629,000 refugees, or over a fifth of its population – to meet essential needs and reduce the incentive for refugees considering routes to Europe.

Up to £5 million will also support the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey, providing food and healthcare for those situated outside of the camps. This aid comes in addition to the £4 million announced for Turkey by the Development Secretary in February, bringing the UK’s total contribution to Turkey this year to £9 million. This support will be channelled through UN and NGO agencies who are best placed to respond to the crisis, alongside the Turkish authorities.

The additional £100 million, announced by the Prime Minister last week in Madrid, will be used to provide food, water, health care, education and shelter to people in Syria as well as in neighbouring countries, helping them to meet their basic needs where they are, rather than taking the desperate decision to risk their lives by attempting to get to Europe.

Nearly 12 million people have been displaced by violence in Syria and nearly 8 million of those remain in the country, including many tens of thousands in informal camps near the Turkish border. Millions more suffering from the violence – who are yet to leave their homes – are also in need of assistance.

In Syria itself, working with the International Rescue Committee, World Food Programme and UN agencies, £60 million will be spent to provide thousands of internally displaced people with a range of support including food, water, urgent trauma care and first aid. British funds will also help to provide essential drugs, medical supplies and equipment, as well as training for hundreds of dedicated health specialists and workers in the region.

Of those funds:

  • over £20 million will go to partners delivering aid across Syria’s borders without the consent of the Assad regime, including £10 million to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for medical assistance, protection services, education and livelihoods
  • £10 million will go to OCHA’s Humanitarian Pool Fund to support and build capacity of local Syrian NGOs in Syria
  • £18 million will go to the World Food Programme, expected to provide over 2.7 million individual monthly food rations
  • the remaining £12 million will go to organisations providing humanitarian support inside Syria

The Prime Minister said:

As the second largest bilateral donor to the humanitarian crisis in Syria our aid effort is supporting thousands of people to rebuild their lives, providing protection, counselling and schooling, alongside the provision of basic food and water. Investment in health, education, jobs and stability is the most effective way to help people overseas, and it is clearly in Britain’s interests.

Around 3% of the 11 million Syrians forced from their homes have sought asylum in Europe, and without British aid hundreds of thousands more could be risking their lives seeking to get to Europe, so these funds are part of our comprehensive approach to tackle migration from the region.

For thousands of refugees this money means a meal for their families, the security of a home with basic sanitation and clean water, and for children it means an education so we don’t lose a generation to the Syrian conflict.

Our goal remains to support the development of a secure, stable and peaceful Syria. Without our investment in international development, the numbers of people seeking to embark on a perilous journey to Europe would be far greater.

Up to £29 million of the new funding will go to Lebanon. The country is host to 1.1 million Syrian refugees – over a quarter of its population. This funding will go to leading United Nations and international agencies who are already working on the ground providing support to thousands of refugee families and poor people in host communities.

Partners include the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the United Nations Development Programme and the Danish Refugee Council.