Press release

Britain sends lifesaving aid to the people of Aleppo

Clean water, food, medical care and blankets will help millions of Syrians, including those who have fled Aleppo.

Britain will provide clean water, food, medical care and blankets to millions of Syrians, including those who have fled Aleppo, been caught up in the current fighting and displaced in neighbouring Jordan, International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced today.

Secretary of State Priti Patel’s statement on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, Syria

As temperatures in Aleppo fall below freezing, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 30,000 forced out of their homes following renewed fighting as regime forces and their allies attempt to retake the city.

Food supplies inside the city are exhausted, residential areas have been hit by barrel bombs and reported chlorine gas attacks, schools have been shelled and no functioning hospitals remain.

The new aid from the British people will be delivered by trusted humanitarian partners who are working on the frontline in some of the hardest to reach places in Syria, including besieged areas such as Aleppo. It will include:

  • food parcels for nearly half a million people and basic supplies including blankets and mattresses for more than 100,000 people
  • essential medical supplies like antibiotics and measles vaccines, equipment for safe childbirth and maternity care and basic surgical supplies like sutures and pain medications to treat traumas, as well as repairs to key health facilities
  • the evacuation of civilians in need of urgent medical care and the transfer of disabled and vulnerable elderly people to safe areas
  • provision of clean drinking water and improved sanitation.
Quote graphic of Priti Patel
Quote graphic: Ricci Coughlan/DFID

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

After more than 5 years of fighting in Syria, we have seen daily examples of brutality and human suffering used as weapons of war. The fall of Aleppo has taken these horrors to a new low.

Russia must take responsibility for its actions. People must also be allowed to leave the city safely without risk to life or limb or gross violations of their human rights, and in accordance with international law.‎

Britain is urgently sending blankets, medical kit, clean water and food that will mean the difference between life and death for those fleeing Aleppo and those caught in freezing conditions in the city after being systematically bombed from their homes by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies.

Protecting innocent civilians must be an absolute priority. It is paramount that aid agencies now get the unfettered, secure access they need to save lives inside East Aleppo.

The UK will also provide new support for Syrian refugees and people in Jordan who are hosting them. This will include:

  • life-saving aid to the approximately 70,000 Syrians in the unofficial settlement at ‘the berm’ on Jordan’s border with Syria. This includes provision of clean water; health services at a 24/7 clinic, including the treatment of malnutrition; and distribution of basics such as soap and toothbrushes to meet every day needs and reduce the risk of disease
  • building new and repairing existing water pipes and infrastructure, to provide clean water to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in camps and urban areas across Jordan, as well as people in the communities hosting them
  • protecting children, working with the Jordanian authorities and through community centres to provide wellbeing support to refugee children, improving the legislative protection for them, and ensuring their rights are upheld and they have access to the services they need, such as counselling or enrolling in school.

Along with the new support announced today, the UK is already providing basic life-saving support to thousands of civilians entering west Aleppo city from the east, through UN and NGO partner agencies working in and around Aleppo. This includes:

  • hot meals and basic shelter, blankets and cold-weather clothes including shoes, coats and woolly hats to help cope with the onset of winter
  • emergency health care including mobile health teams, medicines, and immunisation campaigns among newly-displaced, reducing the spread of disease
  • care, counselling and protection for children, including those who have been separated from their families, plus specialist nutrition services for under-5s
  • support to existing water-pumping stations, trucking in drinking water to shelters and schools, and repairing and installing water tanks, as well as providing hygiene kits and waste disposal; and
  • basic schooling support so displaced children don’t miss out on an education, including community learning centres and self-learning programmes.

Notes to editors

  1. The new £10 million funding for Syria will be channelled through trusted partners with an existing presence on the ground and a proven ability to deliver aid to those in need. We are not identifying these organisations for security reasons and at their request.
  2. The £10 million funding for Syrian refugees in Jordan will be delivered through UNICEF.
  3. The UK is at the forefront of the response to the Syria crisis, with life-saving humanitarian support reaching millions of people inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.
  4. The UK has pledged more than £2.3 billion to support those affected by the conflict, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis. In 2016 the UK is the third largest bilateral contributor to the humanitarian response in Syria, and the second largest overall since the start of the response in 2012.
  5. For more information on the UK’s humanitarian response, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/factsheet-the-uks-humanitarian-aid-response-to-the-syria-crisis

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