Office of the Spokesperson
April 20, 2012
The United States is pursuing every avenue to get humanitarian relief to those affected by the violence in Syria and is engaged in focused diplomatic efforts to secure full and unfettered access for humanitarian organizations to reach those in need. The United States is providing an additional $8 million in humanitarian assistance to support the people of Syria, bringing the total amount of U.S. emergency aid to nearly $33 million to date for this crisis. Our assistance is through international and non-governmental humanitarian partners, including:
- $10.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP);
- $8.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);
- $7.8 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
- $3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and
- $3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The number of displaced Syrians is estimated at approximately 300,000. Many of these individuals and other vulnerable and besieged communities have received U.S. assistance in the form of medical supplies and other humanitarian relief. Humanitarian assistance is provided on the basis of need, not political affiliation, and is being distributed to the most vulnerable through international and non-governmental organizations. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is providing substantial assistance to Syrians and other civilians at great risk. Sixty thousand people in several governorates, including Homs, Lattakia, Dara’a and Rural Damascus, have received food and other essentials over the last two weeks from the SARC, with ICRC support. ICRC has established teams inside Syria to more efficiently deliver assistance to those who need it most. The ICRC provided the SARC branches in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Idlib and Homs with enough medical supplies to treat 200 casualties. Additionally, 2,000 displaced persons will benefit from improved water and sanitation at 10 public buildings in Homs. UN and NGO partners are delivering critical medical services and food, water, blankets, hygiene kits, and heaters.
Non-Syrian refugee populations within Syria are suffering from economic disruption related to the current situation, including 500,000 Palestinian refugees and 100,000 Iraqi refugees who have traditionally enjoyed government protection in Syria. Vulnerable refugee populations within Syria are receiving food and cash assistance, emergency health care, water, sanitation, and educational support through partners with U.S. government funding.
In March, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a special alert voicing serious concern over the state of food security, especially for vulnerable groups.
Over 100,000 people affected by the civil conflict in 11 governorates in Syria are receiving food assistance from the World Food Program (WFP) with U.S. government support, reaching up to 250,000 Syrians in April. The WFP operation provides rations to displaced Syrians and host families, households that have lost breadwinners or livelihoods, and other food-insecure families. Several hard hit areas within the governorates remain inaccessible due to insecurity or government restrictions.
In Neighboring Countries:
We recognize the generosity of the Governments of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, who have kept their borders open and are hosting and providing assistance to those fleeing the violence in Syria.
As of April 19, there were approximately:
- 23,700 Syrians in Turkey;
- 22,000 Syrians in Lebanon;
- 14,400 Syrians in Jordan; and
- 2,400 Syrians in Iraq.
As of April 15, UNHCR has provided almost 34,000 blankets, 10,000 bed mats and 5,100 family tents in response to the arrival of displaced Syrians in Turkey and the earthquake in Van. Additionally, UNHCR is providing technical assistance on protection issues including camp management, voluntary repatriation, and registration to the Government of Turkey. The Turkish government’s humanitarian assistance provided through the Turkish Red Crescent exceeds international standards.
In Lebanon, 3,000 people received food and hygiene kits from UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council, with the help of local municipalities and charities. NGOs have rehabilitated the homes of 29 host families in Lebanon by providing cash grants; and have rehabilitated one collective center, with 18 more collective centers in the process of being upgraded. Additional homes and collective centers have also been identified for future rehabilitation, to better enable sheltering of displaced Syrians. ICRC and the Lebanese Red Cross have provided medical training to a number of hospitals.
In Jordan, nearly 2,600 individuals received out-patient health services through UNHCR and its implementing partners since April 1, 2011. Three clinics, in the cities where most Syrians are located, provide free health services to vulnerable Syrians. Additionally mobile medical units travel to reach newly arrived Syrian populations in need of urgent medical attention. Almost 400 Syrian families have received non-food items, such as blankets, mattresses, cooking sets and other items. Syrians arriving at the Ramtha facility in northern Jordan receive hot meals from WFP.
In Iraq, the Government of Iraq has opened a new camp for Syrians fleeing the violence. As of April 15, UNHCR and IOM provided 104 families with non-food items, such as blankets, mattresses, cooking sets, and other items.