Ireland increases humanitarian aid across Middle East
2015-12-15 11:39:08 -
World News

By Chinedu Onyejelem


Ireland is to give an extra €4.45m in humanitarian assistance across the Middle East.


The Government said €2.95m of the total will be used to support victims of the conflict in Syria, while €1.25m has been budgeted for Ireland’s UN and Red Cross partners in Yemen to assist more than 80 per cent of the population – over 20 million people – who are in urgent need of basic amenities.


The balance of €250,000 is for Unicef’s work with vulnerable women and children in Iraq.


On the new funding for Syria, the Government said the package is being made available through Irish Aid’s humanitarian budget and will go directly to Ireland’s UN partners to render humanitarian assistance both in Syria and in border countries hosting Syrian refugees.


Reports say more than 250,000 people have died since the conflict began almost five years ago. At least 11 million people have been displaced since 2011 when anti-government protests turned into a full-scale civil war, with large swathes of the country now under the nominal control of the IS terrorist group.


“Over the last five years, the situation for Syrians in their home country has deteriorated steadily, with more than 250,000 people already having been killed, while millions more have been forced to flee their homes,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan. “Ireland has been responding to this crisis since 2012, providing needs-based humanitarian assistance through our UN, Red Cross and NGO partners. Earlier this year, Ireland pledged €12 million in support for the Syrian people for 2015.”


Minister Flanagan added that the latest funding announcement brings to €13 million the humanitarian support Ireland will have provided to Syria in 2015 – “bringing our total support since 2012 to €42m”.


Minister of State for Development Seán Sherlock, who visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan this past October, said the money would go a long way in helping those whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict.


“[I] was struck by their desire to see their children getting an education there and building a future, but for many this was beyond reach,” he said. “Children who are fleeing war have no hand or control in their fate. Education is a global right and one we must ensure is delivered in these most challenging of situations.”


Minister Sherlock confirmed that €1m of the funding package would support Unicef’s work under the ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative, which delivers education and child protection to Syrian children, giving them and their parents hope for the future.


“Ireland is able to support the development of water and sanitation facilities at Azraq camp in Jordan, since the need for this was clear during my visit there,” he added.

TAGS : Middle East Syria UN Red Cross Unicef Refugee Crisis
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