International

Syria: The Largest Humanitarian Response from UK

The war-ravaged country of Syria is to receive another £100m from the UK to help tackle their humanitarian crisis.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said Britain’s humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis was its largest ever because “sadly it reflects the scale, despair and brutality of what’s going on”.

The aid will go to agencies providing food, clean water and shelter to four million people displaced by fighting. The United Nations (UN) has warned that one-third of Syria’s population have been forced from their homes by the conflict.

More than 2.5 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Over 600,000 have fled to immediate neighbors Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Now in its third year, the full-blown civil war has killed over 100,000 people, half of whom are believed to be civilians.

“Bombings are destroying crowded cities and horrific human rights violations are widespread. Basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse,” according to a Mercy Corps representative.

The UN estimates that over 4 million people are internally displaced and that almost 7 million are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria.

“When you also consider refugees, nearly 40 per cent of the country’s population of 22 million is suffering, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders,” said the Mercy Corps representative.

In June, the UN issued its largest ever appeal — according to their estimates, $5 billion is necessary to meet the needs of all those affected by the crisis, both within and outside Syria.

However, only £1 billion has been pledged thus far. That’s just 22 per cent of what is needed, according to the UN report.

“Where aid is getting through to hundreds of thousands of people, it can be the difference between life and death,” said Greening. “The UK has led the way in responding to this crisis so far and we will continue to stand alongside the Syrian people in their time of need.”

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