“The world stands by you, and we will not ignore your plight.”
It’s been 20 months since armed forces loyal to the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad began to brutally attack their own people. Today, as winter approaches, approximately 2.5 million people have been displaced by violence within their own country, and thousands are homeless, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates more than 408,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and registered with UNHCR for assistance.
To help alleviate the plight of those people of Syria who are suffering at the hands of their own government, the United States has allocated an additional $30 million in humanitarian assistance to displaced and conflict-affected Syrians in the region. This brings the total amount of emergency aid the United States is providing to almost $200 million, benefiting not only those people suffering in Syria, but also those who were forced to escape to neighboring countries.
Much of this U.S. assistance will go toward keeping the displaced warm: not only inside Syria, but also in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. Winterization aid includes heating stoves and blankets, as well as heavy plastic sheeting to help weather-proof damaged houses.
Other funds have been allocated for child protection, psychosocial support, education, prevention of gender-based violence, and health and medical services, including an immunization campaign that will protect up to one million children inside Syria from measles and other preventable diseases.
The United States recognizes the generosity of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, who have kept their borders open and hosting and providing assistance to those fleeing the violence, and has expressed appreciation to all countries that are hosting and providing assistance to these vulnerable populations.
As the conflict escalates and an increasing number of people are affected by the violence, the United States is aggressively pursuing all feasible options to expand the reach of humanitarian aid in Syria. United States aid other than food, delivered through United Nations agencies, has thus far reached nearly one million people within Syria itself, and another 390,000 in neighboring countries. Working through the World Food Program, the United States is also the largest donor of food assistance to Syria.
The United States will continue to support the important work that our international and non-governmental organization partners carry out in the region to provide aid and services to victims of the conflict in Syria.
As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said to the Syrian people, “the world stands by you, and we will not ignore your plight.”