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Minister Flanagan announces €1.8 million in funding for Syria crisis

Budget/funding, News/feature, Ireland, 2015

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, today announced funding of €1.8 million to the United Nations to meet the urgent needs of civilians affected by the Syria crisis.

Today’s funding will go to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

More than half of all those displaced by the Syrian crisis are children. Ireland’s support will directly help UNICEF to provide food, shelter, education, healthcare, water and sanitation for Syrian refugees, in particular for vulnerable children. Support to the UNHCR will benefit both refugees and communities hosting refugees, with a focus on the needs of those in Jordan.

Speaking on the final day of his visit to the Middle East, Minister Flanagan said:

“With over 12 million Syrians in need of assistance, almost 4 million of them refugees, the humanitarian crisis in Syria is a major human tragedy and a growing threat to regional stability. Our funding to UNICEF will go towards providing food, shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation.

 “After five years of conflict, access to education is also crucial, if these young people’s future is not to be permanently compromised. More than half of all those displaced by the Syria crisis are children and we must ensure that no child is left without hope or a future.

“The funding announced today will bring Ireland’s total contribution to date in support of the Syrian people to over €30 million.”

Minister Flanagan also welcomed the generosity of countries who have hosted refugees, saying:

“Countries such as Jordan have shown great generosity in hosting so many Syrian refugees.

“However, the numbers pose a real difficulty for a country with a population not much greater than our own. This is a strain on public services such as health and education, as well as on resources such as land and water.

“Our funding to UNHCR will benefit both refugees and communities hosting refugees in providing support for water and sanitation, waste disposal, and healthcare."


Press Office
19 February 2015

Note to editors:

• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

• Today’s funding consists of:

    o €1 million  to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support its work in Syria and throughout the region
    o €800,000 to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for their work to assist Syrian refugees who have fled to Jordan and host communities in Jordan.

• Since the uprising in Syria began in March 2011, an estimated 200,000 people have been killed. The most urgent humanitarian needs inside the country are protection, health care, shelter, food and water and sanitation.  The number of refugees and individuals awaiting registration as a result of the crisis currently stands at more than 3.8 million.

• The UN appeal for assistance to the Syrian people for 2015 requests over $8.4 billion to meet the needs people in Syria, and in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt, which are under hosting millions of Syrians who have no immediate prospects of returning home. This appeal amounts to more than half of the entire UN global appeal for 2015 and is the largest humanitarian appeal in the UN’s history.

• Ireland’s total funding to the Syria crisis to date amounts to €30.8 million, of which €14.9 million was granted in 2014 alone. As part of our support, Ireland has also provided emergency supplies through our Rapid Response Initiative.

• Jordan is second only to Lebanon in terms of per capita ratio of refugees to overall population. There are over 619,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, from a population of 6.3 million people, one third of whom are long-term Palestinian refugees.

• Jordan is host to Za’atari camp, which is one of the world’s largest refugee camps.

• Most refugees in Jordan live outside camps, and this has increased pressure on all public services. Recognising this, UNHCR has supported capacity building projects since 2010 including on Water and Sanitation (Jordan is amongst the world’s most water-poor countries), rehabilitation of schools, waste disposal and health.

• Over half of those affected by the crisis are children, many of whom are experiencing severe psychological distress. Some have been detained or experienced torture at the hands of the regime and other armed groups. Within Syria, educational facilities have been damaged or are being used as shelter by the displaced, disrupting schooling.

• In 2014, UNICEF sought to expand assistance and protection beyond camp settings to refugees living in host communities in neighbouring countries. UNICEF assistance includes health care and nutrition support for infants and young children – for example, both standard and emergency immunizations (to prevent epidemics), breastfeeding promotion and training for medical professionals on childhood illnesses.

• In 2015 UNICEF will work with some 20 partners including Government partners, National Non-governmental organisations and International Non-governmental organisations to scale up education services, psychosocial support and life skills programmes. Syrian refugees, and other vulnerable children, are in acute need of more educational opportunities, and this is a key focus of UNICEF’s ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative.