EU and U.N. Partner to Reach Millions of Syrians in Desperate Need of Humanitarian Assistance

Dec 18, 2013, 13:57 ET from Delegation of the European Union to the United States

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The European Commission is signing today three major contracts with United Nations agencies totaling 147 million euro to deliver vitally needed aid to people directly affected by the Syrian crisis. The Heads of the UN Refugee Agency, the UN World Food Program and UNICEF, meeting with the EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva in Brussels today, are participating in a signing ceremony for this substantial humanitarian funding.

"The conflict in Syria has consumed tens of thousands of lives, uprooted millions from their homes, destabilized the region and consigned an entire generation of the young to an uncertain future," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. "It is right that we stand up for the victims of this catastrophe, which is why I am proud that today we are signing some of the largest humanitarian contracts ever concluded with trusted humanitarian partners. I urge the international community to follow suit and replicate our gesture of solidarity."

Commissioner Georgieva said: "Our collaboration with the major UN agencies is vital to the overall relief assistance being provided by Europe for this terrible crisis. Working together has enabled us to reach many of the millions of men, women and children who are suffering as a result of this tragic conflict."

"These latest contracts will help us to reach even more vulnerable Syrians and those in the host communities beyond Syria's borders who are struggling under the burden of their generous hospitality. For such a giant challenge we are determined to continue to provide assistance to more than five million Syrian people. Today, each and every beneficiary will be on our minds when these contracts are being signed."

UNHCR - 63 million euro – humanitarian assistance to almost 3 million people in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq 
Under this latest contract, the largest ever to be signed between the European Commission Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and a partner organization, UNHCR will provide assistance to almost three million people - refugees, internally displaced people and local populations – in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. With ECHO funding, inside Syria the UNHCR will provide basic relief items to two million people who are among the most vulnerable in the displaced populations and host communities. In Iraq, the funding will assist in providing registration services and coordination for the camps, basic household items, winterization kits on arrival for both camps and urban-based refugees, as well as health services for around 190 000 people. In Jordan, the contribution will provide shelter for new arrivals, health services, basic household and other items for camp residents and new arrivals, and some cash assistance for almost 300 000 people. Finally, in Lebanon, the allocated funds will be used for registration of new arrivals, health services and winterization kits for around 510 000 people.

Signatory, Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
"We must do whatever we can to help those who have lost everything through this conflict. One of UNHCR's priorities is to bolster support in the neighboring countries, where the vast majority of Syrian refugees live and where needs are greater than ever. UNHCR welcomes the support from the European Union."

World Food Programme - 61 million euro for food assistance to over 6 million people in 5 countries
This contract, the second-largest ever signed by the European Commission for humanitarian aid, will provide funding for the WFP to continue the distribution of vital food, vouchers and cash in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey – to the internally displaced and their hosts inside Syria, and to vulnerable refugees and host communities throughout the region. More than six million people will benefit.

Signatory, Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Program:
"The Commission's consistently generous support has been vital to WFP's Syria operations. Today's announcement of a new 61 million euro contribution represents an extraordinary commitment to the welfare of the Syrian people affected by the escalating and brutal conflict. This crucial funding from the citizens of Europe will help us provide a lifeline to at least four million people inside Syria, and to another 1.5 million Syrian refugees in neighboring states. Where possible, WFP vouchers and e-vouchers give refugees the power to buy their own food while boosting the host community economies. On behalf of these beleaguered people, we thank you."

UNICEF - 23 million euro for water and sanitation for four million people
UNICEF is ECHO's fourth largest humanitarian partner in the world.  The funding will target vulnerable households in Domiz camp in Iraq, refugees and host communities in Jordan and both displaced and host populations inside the most affected areas in Syria.  In all these countries, special focus will be to support both children and women. The aid will provide water, sanitation and hygiene promotion to more than 4.2 million people, health care to approximately 700 000, and protection for the most vulnerable to some 4000 people.

Signatory, Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF:
"The children of Syria and many from neighboring countries are paying a terrible price for the ongoing conflict. Yet this is the generation that will be responsible for shaping the future of Syria and the region - that is why the world has an obligation to support and protect them now. Through the generous contribution of ECHO UNICEF has been able to scale up delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance including safe water and hygiene supplies in Syria, Iraq and Jordan and we will be able to provide further support for primary health care and assistance for unaccompanied and separated children."

The EU – the Commission and Member States - is the largest donor since the start of the crisis, with more than 2 billion euros donated. This comprises 1.09 billion euros from Member States, and more than 515 million euros from the Commission's humanitarian aid budget.

For background on the crisis and further information, please see:

Delegation of the European Union to the United States
2175 K Street (entrance from 22nd Street), NW, Washington, DC 20037 & @EUintheUS & @ValedeAlmeidaEU

SOURCE Delegation of the European Union to the United States