Washington — The United States is providing an additional $21 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the estimated 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria as well as the more than 240,000 people who have fled to neighboring countries to escape Syria’s ongoing conflict.
“With this new assistance, the United States is providing a total of more than $100 million for humanitarian activities both inside Syria and in neighboring countries,” a State Department news release said September 5.
The statement followed the announcement of additional aid earlier in the day by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah, who explained the new funding will be split between food assistance for conflict-affected people inside Syria ($14.3 million) and support for Syrians who have sought refuge in neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq ($6.7 million).
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said its recent estimate that 2.5 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian aid is more than double the number assessed in March 2012, adding that more than 1.2 million people have been internally displaced.
Syria has been embroiled in violent conflict since March 2011, when Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad launched brutal crackdowns on political opponents that have now left more than 14,000 people dead. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in August that the violence was continuing to increase, leading more and more Syrians to cross borders each day seeking safety.
The State Department now reports that in August alone, more than 100,000 Syrian refugees flooded into neighboring countries, stretching host country capacity. The department’s statement commended Syria’s neighbors for their generosity in taking on the significant financial burden of providing shelter, medical care, food and water to thousands of refugees.
U.S. assistance is providing critical medical supplies, emergency health care, food and relief supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits and kitchen sets to help those who have remained in Syria as well as those who have fled to neighboring countries.