The Australian Government announced $220 million over the next three years to respond to the Syria crisis as part of its 2016 Budget, commencing in the 2016-17 financial year. This will include humanitarian assistance for Syria and its neighbours, as well as longer-term resilience support for Jordan and Lebanon focused on improving education opportunities for refugees and their host communities. The package will provide predictable funding to our partners, allowing for better planning and more efficient delivery of our aid.
Prior to this new Budget announcement, Australia has provided more than $213 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the Syria crisis since 2011. This includes $87.5 million for assistance to people inside Syria and $125.7 million to help refugees and their host communities. In addition, we also provided a further $2 million to help destroy Syria’s chemical weapons in 2014.
At the recent Syria Donors Conference in London on 4 February 2016,
Australia pledged $25 million in humanitarian assistancefor Syria, Iraq and the region. This included:
- $7 million to international humanitarian partners operating inside Syria and Iraq to deliver food, medical assistance and protection
- $5 million to UNHCR for countries neighbouring Syria
- $4 million to WFP for countries neighbouring Syria
- $4 million to UNICEF for countries neighbouring Syria
- $3 million to Australian NGOs (Caritas and Oxfam) for education and livelihood programs in Jordan
- $2 million to the UNDP Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization in Iraq to support stabilisation in areas newly liberated from Daesh.
In addition, 10 Australian Civilian Corps personnel are deploying to Lebanon and Jordan to work with our UN partners. These specialists are helping deliver protection services, livelihoods, water and sanitation, education and logistics support.
The Syria conflict is the biggest humanitarian, peace and security crisis facing the world today. The UN estimates 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance, including 6.5 million who are internally displaced and 4.6 million living in hard-to-reach areas. A further 4.8 million people have fled the violence in Syria to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. In Lebanon, Syrian refugees make up one-quarter of the population – the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world. About 90 per cent of refugees in the region are residing in host communities, which is placing a strain on local resources, infrastructure and services.
Australia’s aid contribution in response to the Syria crisis has been delivered through UN agencies, international humanitarian organisations and Australian NGOs to reach people in need across the region.
Australia’s humanitarian assistance for Syria and the region contributes to coordinated international response efforts. In 2015, the UN Syria appeals achieved the following results inside Syria and in refugee-hosting neighbouring countries:
- 5.8 million people in Syria received food baskets on average each month. 2.3 million Syrian refugees and vulnerable people in host communities received in-kind, cash or voucher assistance to meet their food needs.
- 3.3 million primary health care consultations were provided to Syrian refugees and vulnerable people in host communities.
- 2.7 million Syrian refugees and vulnerable people in host communities benefitted from improved access to safe drinking water and 740,000 from access to appropriate sanitation facilities and services.
- 658,000 Syrian refugee and host community children were enrolled in formal education.
- 585,000 Syrian refugee and host community children benefitted from child protect and psychosocial support programs.