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UK pledges £115m as PM calls on EU to provide more aid for Syrian conflict

(London Post)   The UK will step up with nearly £115 million in additional emergency funding in response to the migration crisis, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.This includes a further £100 million in response to the Syria conflict and £14.5 million to tackle migration challenges more widely.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister attends an emergency meeting of the European Council, where he will call on other EU leaders to provide new funding to help meet urgent humanitarian needs in Syria and its neighbouring countries.

The new funding from the UK includes £100 million for lifesaving aid in Syria and the region. This takes the UK’s response to the Syria crisis to £1.12 billion – second only to the United States.

There are twice as many internally displaced people inside Syria (7.6 million) as there are refugees in neighbouring countries (4 million) and 20 times more than the number who have sought refuge in Europe. Meeting basic needs inside the country will mean that people are not forced to leave to find the help they need, endangering themselves and their families and adding to the growing numbers of refugees in Europe.

In addition, £14.5 million in new funding will go to provide assistance and protection in countries that refugees and migrants are leaving from and transiting through, including help for those already in Europe. This is in addition to £2.4 million that the UK is already providing to the Red Cross to deliver food, water, blankets and medical support for refugee families travelling across the continent.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

Once again the UK is leading the way in meeting the most immediate, basic needs of hundreds of thousands of Syrians caught up in this conflict.

Our new support will give desperate people the food, clean water and shelter they need to survive on a daily basis where they are, so they won’t have to risk their lives fleeing the region and attempting the treacherous crossing to Europe. It will also provide immediate, life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection to refugees in transit.

The UN is desperately underfunded and more help is urgently needed in the short term. Today’s emergency European Council meeting presents a real opportunity for the EU to show leadership in tackling the humanitarian and migration crisis at source.

That means continuing to meet basic needs inside Syria and across the region, while helping host countries cope with growing numbers of refugees. At the same time, we must ensure Syrian children can get an education and adult refugees have the prospect of finding work if we are to address some of the issues that are driving people to move and give them some cause to hope for the future.

The new £100 million funding for Syria and its neighbouring countries will go to key partner agencies including:

  • £40 million to the World Food Programme, predominantly for its work inside Syria, but also including £5 million to provide food assistance to refugees in Turkey;
  • £15 million to UNICEF for its work in Syria and Lebanon, including water, sanitation and support for children;
  • £20 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria;
  • £5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide food, water and protection inside Syria; and
  • £20 million to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, to provide cash transfers to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon that they can use to meet their most immediate needs, including buying food and clothing, paying rent etc.

The £14.5 million to provide aid in countries that refugees and migrants are leaving from and transiting through includes:

  • £3 million to provide aid to migrants and refugees and support to governments in managing registration in the Western Balkans;
  • £4 million to provide life-saving assistance and protection in Europe, including Greece and Italy;
  • approximately £3 million in countries in Africa including north Africa, for assistance, protection and counselling on options and risks around travel and support for people to return home where required;
  • £2.5 million to support systems for better understanding and predicting trends in movement, which will help alleviate the pressures that force people to move and allow for a better, more rapid humanitarian response; and
  • In addition, £2 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross will provide support for vulnerable people including refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Libya. This will include food, clean water and other essential items for tens of thousands of people; family tracing for thousands of people; and training for first aid instructors, doctors and surgeons. The UK will also provide support to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to help effectively manage humanitarian assistance in Libya.
  1. Current funding to the UN appeals for Syria and the region are more than half a billion dollars behind where they were this time last year, despite the UN target increasing by $2.4 billion for 2015.
  2. From the new £100 million funding for Syria and its neighbouring countries, a total of £60 million will go to meet the most immediate needs of people where they are inside Syria, including the delivery at scale of desperately needed food, clean drinking water and restoration of water systems.
  3. Including the new funding announced today, the UK has now committed more than £1.12 billion in response to the Syria crisis. This is the UK’s most significant response to a humanitarian crisis by some margin, making the UK the second largest bilateral donor after the United States.
  4. That support has provided clean water, food, shelter and medical care to millions of Syrians inside the country and across the region, as well as ensuring that children do not miss out on an education and helping Syria’s neighbours cope with the influx of refugees. More information on our support is available here
  5. The £14.5 million to tackle the wider migration crisis consists of £6.75 million to UNHCR for their Special Mediterranean Initiative (SMI) – 20 per cent of their total appeal for this initiative – and £5.75 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for a range of humanitarian programmes, as well as the £2 million to ICRC for its work in Libya.
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