The Australian Government announced $220 million over three years to respond to the Syria crisis as part of its 2016 Budget, commencing in the 2016-17 financial year. This includes humanitarian assistance for Syria and its neighbours, as well as longer-term resilience support for Jordan and Lebanon focused on improving education and livelihoods opportunities for refugees and their host communities. The package provides predictable funding to our partners, allowing for better planning and more efficient delivery of our aid.
Prior to this 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.
The Syria conflict remains the biggest humanitarian, peace and security crisis facing the world today. The UN estimates 13.1 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance, including 6.6 million who are internally displaced and 1.5 million living in hard-to-reach areas. A further 5.6 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. Over 91 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.