Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced an additional $12 million to help international relief agencies respond to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria and neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Speaking from the Faour refugee camp in Lebanon, senator Carr said the funding lifted Australia's humanitarian support for the Syrian crisis to more than $78 million.
"Since fighting began in 2011, more than 80,000 Syrians have been killed and 1.5 million people have become refugees," Senator Carr said.
"By the end of the year, the number of Syrian refugees could reach 3.6 million.
"Syria's neighbours have been generous in welcoming Syrians displaced by the conflict, but they desperately need more help.
"If donors have promised financial support to those affected by the crisis in Syria, now is the time to fulfil those promises."
Senator Carr said Australia's additional $12 million in emergency funds would provide:
- $9 million to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Australian Red Cross to help Jordan and Lebanon host Syrian refugees and,
- $3 million for basic medical supplies, to train health care workers in first aid and emergency surgery, to distribute food parcels and supply clean drinking water within Syria.
"Every day more than 5,000 Syrians cross into the neighbouring countries of Lebanon and Jordan," Senator Carr said.
"Three quarters of the Syrians fleeing the conflict into Lebanon and Jordan are women and children and many of the children are not accompanied by parents or family.
"Water, sanitation, education and housing services are severely strained.
"Australian non-government organisations are playing a key role in providing food, essential household items and cash assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
"Under the Humanitarian Partnership Agreement with the Australian Government, four Australian emergency response partners (CARE, Caritas, Oxfam and Save the Children) will help vulnerable people who have fled to Lebanon and Jordan, and the local communities that are supporting them."
Senator Carr made the announcement during a visit with Australia's Ambassador to Lebanon, Lex Bartlem.to Syrian refugee camps along the Lebanese border.
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