Prime Minister David Cameron today set out the largest single funding commitment ever made by the UK in response to a humanitarian disaster, as he announced a £175 million emergency package for the Syrian crisis.
But the Prime Minister warned that other G8 countries and the international community as a whole must now follow the UK’s lead. He called for:
- aid agencies to be given the unrestricted access they need to save lives in Syria;
- a reduction in violence and a negotiated solution to the conflict;
- the international community to follow the UK’s lead in committing to and providing long term funding;
- a clear, UN-led focus on the most vulnerable in this crisis, particularly girls and women; and
- the UN to actively take the lead in planning and setting out a strategic, long-term response.
The new funding, which the Prime Minister announced at the G8 summit, will help to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of Syrians in desperate need as a result of the ongoing fighting.
Critically, the UK Government will also commit funding over the next two years, beyond the life of the current UN emergency appeal, so aid and development agencies can plan a more strategic response to the protracted crisis, with predictable funding allowing them to forward plan food deliveries and keep clinics open.
Speaking after the announcement, International Development Secretary Justine Greening underlined the Prime Minister’s call on the international community to recognise the protracted nature of the Syrian crisis and follow the UK’s lead.
Justine Greening said:
“An unprecedented disaster requires an unprecedented response. Today’s announcement sends a clear signal to the Syrian people and to their neighbours that they can count on the UK’s continuing support. But this is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation and the international community must act together.
“A political solution remains key, but a long-term, co-ordinated international response is now absolutely critical to stabilise the region as it copes with huge refugee flows and to help those in need, whoever and wherever they may be.”
The new commitment more than doubles UK funding for Syria to date to £348 million, the largest total sum the UK has ever committed in response to a single humanitarian crisis.
It follows a surge in the fighting and UN predictions that as much as half of Syria’s pre-crisis population of 22 million will become refugees before the end of the year.
From the £175 million in new funding announced today, which includes humanitarian and development support:
- Over £100 million will be used to respond to the new UN-led appeals launched on 7th June, the largest in the UN’s history. This will help to provide food, medical care, shelter, education and other support for those in need inside Syria and in neighbouring countries until the end of 2013.
- The UK will particularly focus on the needs of girls and women affected, pressing for strong leadership from the international system on responding to the needs of women and girls across the whole Syria response.
- Additional funding for those providing direct support to Syrians inide and outside Syria, including vulnerable host communities and countries that are hosting refugees;
- Support for UN bodies and other humanitarian agencies working both in neighbouring countries and inside Syria to prepare longer term plans to cope with increasing numbers of people in need, steadily failing infrastructure and key services, and growing refugee numbers.