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Fact Sheet: New U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Respond to Syria Crisis
September 22, 2015

New U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Respond to Syria Crisis

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 21, 2015

The White House announced today that the United States is providing nearly $419 million in additional life-saving assistance for those affected by the war in Syria.  This new funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to more than $1.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 and over $4.5 billion since the start of the crisis.

The funding supports the operations of the United Nations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and other international and non-governmental organizations.  It will provide shelter, water, medical care, food, protection, and other necessities to millions of people suffering inside Syria and nearly four million refugees from Syria in the region.  It also helps mitigate the impact of the crisis on governments and communities throughout the region that are straining to cope with the mass influx of refugees from Syria.

Part of the new funding will respond to the 2015 appeals of $8.4 billion from the United Nations for Syria and the region.  It is important to note that even with this contribution, the UN appeals for humanitarian aid to address the crisis in Syria are only 38% funded, resulting in cutbacks to food and other essential services.  Contributions from other donors are urgently needed and the United States continues to advocate for increased contributions through diplomacy and outreach.  As the Assad regime continues to barrel bomb cities and attack civilian targets including schools, mosques, and hospitals, violent extremist groups like ISIL and al-Nusrah Front also continue to brutalize Syrians every day.  In addition to the horror of war in Syria, we also see the plight of refugees fleeing the region to European countries and are reminded of the need to provide humanitarian assistance in countries of first asylum.

The United States recognizes that along with emergency relief, we must address the long-term development needs of Syria’s neighbors, and the funding we are providing supports communities in neighboring countries that have so generously hosted those refugees.  There are over four million Syrian refugees in the world today, the vast majority of whom receive support in the first country to which they flee.  It is our hope that by increasing humanitarian assistance and protection efforts in Syria and neighboring countries, Syrians will not be forced to seek assistance abroad at greater personal peril, and will also be able to return home more easily when the conflict ends.

The United States remains committed to assisting those affected by this terrible war and strongly urges all governments, organizations, and individuals concerned about the situation to support life-saving aid efforts of UN and other partners.


UNHCR: More than $76 million

UNHCR leads the refugee response in the region – the largest refugee assistance operation in the world – and provides both immediate support to new refugees and continuous support to vulnerable refugees.  UNHCR also works with other UN agencies to assist persons in need inside Syria. The funding allows UNHCR to continue providing refugees and internally-displaced persons with shelter, protection (including registration, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and psycho-social support), and daily necessities, either in-kind such as blankets, bedding, and cooking utensils or through cash assistance.  UNHCR’s efforts are increasingly focused on assistance to non-camp refugees and host communities as well as serving refugees in camps.  In various locations throughout the region, in addition to the above, UNHCR also works in the areas of education, health care and employment support.

UNICEF: More than $38 million

Syria’s children are paying the heaviest toll in the conflict.  They constitute half of Syria’s refugees and internally displaced persons.  Inside Syria, two million children are out of school and one of every five schools has been damaged.  As a result, many Syrian children in the country have little or no access to educational opportunities, and those arriving in neighboring countries as refugees are behind in schooling.  Today’s announcement allows UNICEF to continue its child protection, education, and water and sanitation programs throughout the region, demonstrating the United States’ strong support of the No Lost Generation Initiative to invest in the future of the region.

Funding Numbers by Organization

Organization This
New Total –
Since FY 2012
UNHCR $76 million $1.1 billion
WFP $2 million $1.2 billion
NGOs $236.5 million $1.2 billion
UNICEF $38 million $392 million
UNRWA $21 million $281 million
ICRC $10 million $148 million
WHO $15 million $43 million
IOM $14 million $45 million
UNFPA $4 million $32 million
UNDP $1 million $13 million
ILO $.5 million $.5 million
Other International Organizations $21 million
Other (admin) $1 million $7 million
TOTAL $419 million $4.5 billion

*Funding may not sum to total due to rounding

U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country

INSIDE SYRIA:  More than $242 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $2.3 billion

U.S. humanitarian assistance has provided critical, life-saving support to more than five million people across Syria.  The new U.S. contribution supports life-saving emergency medical care, funding for shelters, water, and sanitation and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis.  It also provides critical relief supplies and much-needed counseling and protection programs to help the most vulnerable, including children, women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.

LEBANON: More than $75.5 million.   New total since FY 2012: Nearly $965 million*

The UN estimates that Lebanon is the highest per capita refugee hosting country in the world, with over one million Syrian refugees, in addition to 45,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria.  Today’s announcement increases support to both refugees and Lebanese host communities.  With the additional funding, the UN and international organization partners in Lebanon can continue to deliver shelter assistance, education, healthcare, cash assistance for emergency needs, and basic relief items like blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits.  The UN is also using efficient electronic cards to distribute aid and reach more people in need.  New funding for nongovernmental organizations will further enhance shelter, health, education, and protection services for both vulnerable refugees and Lebanese.  Additional U.S. support to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Lebanon provides much-needed aid, including cash, relief supplies, education, and medical care, to Palestinian refugees from Syria in camps and other communities.

The additional U.S. funding also supports vulnerable Lebanese communities hosting refugees by rehabilitating the municipal water and sanitation systems, supporting local community centers, providing supplies and new equipment to health clinics, and improving school facilities.

JORDAN: Nearly $44 million.   New total since FY 2012: Nearly $668 million*

In Jordan, more than 80 percent of Syrian refugees live in Jordanian towns and cities—not refugee camps.  Our support to Syrian refugees in Jordan includes cash assistance to meet refugees’ basic needs and rehabilitation of inadequate shelter with the goal of ensuring refugees do not have to resort to desperate efforts to earn money, such as sending children to work instead of going to school.  This funding also goes toward supporting schools so that all children can access the education they need and deserve and, for the nearly 90,000 children who cannot be accommodated in public schools, this funding provides informal educational activities in child and adolescent-friendly spaces and psychosocial support to recover from the trauma suffered in Syria.

U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of nearly 15,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria, helping with access to health care, educational services, and cash assistance for essential needs.

TURKEY: More than $29 million.  New total since FY 2012: More than $325 million*

U.S. funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of Syrian refugees in Turkish urban areas, host communities, and camps.  Funding to UNHCR provides greater psychosocial support and prevention of gender-based violence; tents, blankets, and kitchen sets; targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees; and technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps build additional schools, pay teachers’ stipends to provide quality education, and provides programming for children that emphasizes life skills.  The World Food Program provides refugees with electronic food cards that allow families living in camps to purchase nutritious food items to meet their daily needs. Support for the International Organization of Migration supports basic household needs for refugees, school transportation, ‎mental health support, and referrals. The UN Population Fund provides women with hygiene kits, reproductive counseling, gender-based violence prevention and response services, and language training.  The International Labor Organization provides vocational training to refugees and host community residents to increase employability and resilience.  NGOs support a myriad of needs in Turkey including educational needs (teacher support and training, school supplies, repairs for schools), community centers, mental health services, a special needs fund for extremely vulnerable refugees, household basic needs, and much more.

IRAQ: Nearly $22 million.   New total since FY 2012: Nearly $205 million*

In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 96 percent of Syrian refugees in the country, and has provided more than 2,000 square miles of land for the establishment of 11 camp and transit sites.  This new funding aims to repair health centers, expand schools, and improve water sanitation systems in the community.  Other funding is going towards initiatives targeting women and girls, to provide vocational and language training, general literacy training and reproductive health.

EGYPT: Nearly $4 million.  New total since FY 2012: More than $89 million*

The increased funding provides assistance to Syrian refugees who continue to face significant challenges as urban refugees in Egypt.  The U.S. contribution assists humanitarian partners in expanding assistance in major refugee-hosting cities such as Cairo and Alexandria with community-focused projects for refugees and host families in an effort to address the deteriorating protection environment.  Assistance also targets prevention of and responsiveness to gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, distribution of food vouchers, and improved access to health care services.

REGION: $2.5 million.  New total since FY 2012: $10 million*

Funding Numbers by Country

Country This
Total –
Since FY 2012
Inside Syria $242 million Nearly $2.3 billion
Lebanon $75.5 million Nearly $965 million
Jordan $44 million Nearly $668 million
Turkey $29 million Over $325 million
Iraq $22 million Nearly $205 million
Egypt $4 million Over $89 million
Regional $2.5 million $10 million
TOTAL $419 million Over $4.5 billion

*Funding may not sum to total due to rounding

For more detailed information on the U.S. government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, please visit: www.usaid.gov/crisis/syria and www.state.gov/refugeeresponse .