“Syria has become the biggest humanitarian disaster of our era”
Alyn Smith MEP, member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, who has been campaigning in Europe to secure an increase of funding and a better-coordinated response to the Syrian conflict, has today (Thursday) welcomed the announcement of additional aid to assist the victims of the Syrian war, which has triggered the world's largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.
Helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon through the harsh winter. Image by UNHCR via flickr
The European Union is stepping up its assistance to the Syrian crisis by €136 million in humanitarian funding, half of which will go to needs inside Syria, and the other half to Syrian refugees and host communities in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
“Syria has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era and every step towards increased support and funding is a step in the right direction. I welcome the Commission’s decision and also the fact that the EU is leading international efforts to provide aid to Syria and neighbouring countries.
“Syria’s bloody internal conflict has destroyed entire neighbourhoods and forced more than 9 million people from their homes. Over 3 million Syrians are now living in neighbouring countries, which have borne the brunt of the refugee crisis struggling to accommodate the flood of new arrivals.
“We must recognise that this situation is putting an enormous strain on the hosting countries’ resources - the scale of the Syrian exodus is frightening. For example, Lebanon, a small, fragile country of approximately 4,3 million people is hosting over 1,5 million Syrian refugees.
“The EU Commission have listened to our plea and the additional aid will support humanitarian assistance such as food aid, emergency medical supplies, clean water and shelter. However, the money will not end this war.
“The question cannot just be how much funding we can put to alleviating consequences of this war. We must redouble our efforts to find a political solution to make Syria a safe place for its people. This tragedy has to end and a well coordinated international effort to find a political solution for Syria should be high on our list of priorities for the region.”