Press release

Nick Clegg pledges £100 million aid for Syria

New support from the British people brings UK total to £500 million, the country's largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Refugees from Syria in the Zaatari camp wait for buses at the edge of the camp to take them to other destinations in Jordan.
Refugees from Syria in the Zaatari camp in Jordan. Photo: Russell Watkins/DFID.

Britain’s largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis was announced today by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The extra £100 million for the Syria crisis brings the UK total to an unprecedented half a billion pounds, and will allow a new wave of essentials such as food, water and medicine to reach Syrian people in dire need, and help prevent an entire generation being lost to the conflict.

Speaking from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the Deputy Prime Minister announced the extra UK support for the humanitarian crisis and challenged the international community to examine their role and take action to ensure aid agencies have safe access to reach people in need.

This new humanitarian support from the British people brings the UK’s total to half a billion pounds, the UK’s largest response to a single humanitarian crisis. The new funding will go to people who have been affected by the conflict who are still in Syria, the 2 million who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, and the host communities in places such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

The humanitarian crisis has reached catastrophic proportions:

  • more than 100,000 people have been killed
  • a Syrian becomes a refugee every 15 seconds – almost 5,000 every day
  • 6.8 million people are in need within Syria – nearly the population of Scotland and Wales combined
  • at least 4.25 million in Syria have been forced to flee their homes to other areas of the country
  • half of the refugees from Syria are under 18 years old

Speaking at a meeting in the margins of the UN General Assembly, hosted by the EU and Jordan, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

The need for this funding is clear. Millions of people find themselves in an absolutely appalling humanitarian situation, through no fault of their own.

As the international community comes together to reach political solutions, we cannot avert our gaze from the Syrian people, especially children, who need help now.

The UK has been leading the charge to alleviate suffering through the Syria UN appeals. But there’s a huge gap in what’s needed. I’ve been pushing other countries at the UN General Assembly to help meet the shortfall.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

Britain’s humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis has become our largest ever because sadly it reflects the scale, despair and brutality of what’s going on.

Millions of civilians, particularly children, are homeless, destitute and scarred from terrible suffering.

Britain is committed to helping the Syrian people though this crisis.

The new funding will support humanitarian agencies in giving Syrians and host communities basic life-saving supplies, which could include:

  • food for 87,000 people and access to clean water for 295,000 people
  • shelter for more than 118,500 people forced out of their homes by the fighting
  • medical consultations for 80,000 people, including refugees and people in host communities

The latest support from the UK follows an announcement from the Secretary of State for International Development that Syrian children will be given trauma counselling and education as part of a £30 million UK initiative. The new programme will reach some of the 3.1 million Syrian children who have been affected by the fighting and are still inside Syria and the 1 million children who have fled the violence to neighbouring countries.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK has now committed £500 million to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. This is the largest total sum the UK has ever committed to a single crisis.
  2. The UN appeals for 2013 are currently only 44% funded meaning that there is a US$3 billion shortfall. As a result the UN is unable to provide food assistance to 2.32 million people, shelter and vital non-food items to 2.13 million and water and sanitation services to 5.8 million people.
  3. The UN estimates that more than 100,000 Syrian have now been killed as a result of the conflict in Syria; 6.8 million are in need within Syria; at least 4.25 million in Syria have been forced to flee their homes to other areas of the country.
  4. In Syria and the region, UK Aid funding is supporting:
    • food for almost 300,000 people a month (over 156,000 people a month in Syria and 131,000 in the region)
    • almost 300,000 medical consultations (over 244,000 consultations in Syria and 44,000 in region)
    • cooking sets, mattresses and blankets to 305,000 people
    • shelter, blankets and clothing for 65,000 people in Syria
    • shelter for 11,500 refugees in Lebanon
    • psychosocial support for 15,000 children, education to 1,000 children and education lessons for 700 children
    • help in generating income from livestock for 30,000 refugee households in Lebanon
    • counselling, legal and education services for 13,700 refugees

See the latest from the UN General Assembly 2013

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Published 25 September 2013