US Humanitarian Aid Reaches Syria

With the deteriorating situation in Syria due to turmoil, the United States of America is bolstering efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in the country.

At the special briefing on US humanitarian assistance to Syria, Deputy Assistant Kelly Clements for Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration reported that the UN estimates that there are over 1 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it’s an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.

Ahmed Himmiche (right), head of the group of unarmed UN Military Observers (UNMO) recently dispatched to Syria, speaks with children on the streets of Homs as he and his team patrol the city. UN Photo/Neeraj Singh

There are over 66,000 refugees in neighboring countries, Ms. Clements said.

She cites that there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees, totaling about 500,000 inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.

In terms of funding, Ms. Clements stresses that the United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.

US pproach is to work through international and nongovernmental organizations.

“This strengthens our ability to deliver humanitarian assistance because those organizations have staff and infrastructure in Syria prior to the start of the conflict, which can be well utilized in current efforts to assist civilians in need.” -Ms. Clements

According to Ms. Clements, the United States commends the brave and dedicated work that the humanitarian organizations on the ground in Syria and in the neighboring countries are carrying out, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the World Food Program, and many international nongovernmental organizations.

She says there are thousands of courageous Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers who are risking their lives every day to deliver food, medical care, essential lifesaving assistance to displaced and conflict-affected Syrians throughout the country.

Yesterday, a SARC volunteer was killed just outside of Damascus and Duma, and three others were injured while on duty.

The United States also commends the generous efforts of the governments of Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq in protecting and assisting those fleeing the violence in Syria.

Without their efforts, many more would go in great need, Ms. Clement added.

In addition, USAID Christa Capozzola also reported at the briefing in DC that the ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.

She says aid workers in Syria are putting their lives in jeopardy every day to get this relief to vulnerable children, women, and men caught in this crisis.

To help meet the growing needs, Ms. Capozzola stated that the United States is providing food, clean water, basic healthcare, medical and other emergency relief supplies to benefit more than 400,000 people in Syria and neighboring countries so far.

One of US largest emergency partners right now is the World Food Program, which has been helping to reach a hundred thousand people per month in some of the most conflict-affected cities and zones since this conflict began.

World Food Program, WFP, is being distributed in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. So far, they’ve reached 11 of the 14 provinces in Syria, Ms. Capozzola cited.

Last week, with support from the United States and other donors, WFP has expanded its emergency food assistance to reach now 250,000 conflict-affected Syrians, so the program is expanding.

She notes that while some aid is reaching people in need through the Red Crescent, other UN agencies, and other international organizations, current humanitarian access restrictions remain a significant challenge to the aid effort.

After months of working under these conditions, Ms. Capozzola noted that the aid organizations working in Syria are extremely stretched.

To continue alleviating suffering and saving lives, they need more support and capacity from the international community, she stressed.

“We continue to urge the Government of Syria to allow the UN and its partners to expand humanitarian operations as soon as possible.” -Ms. Capozzola

She stresses that it’s critical that humanitarian actors have safe, regular, unhindered access to provide lifesaving aid and emergency relief to those in need.

US assistance is through international and non-governmental humanitarian partners which include:

  • $10.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP);
  • $8.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);
  • $7.8 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
  • $3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and
  • $3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Reports say displaced Syrians have received U.S. assistance in the form of medical supplies and other humanitarian relief.

    According to the US State Department, humanitarian assistance is provided on the basis of need, not political affiliation, and is being distributed to the most vulnerable through international and non-governmental organizations.

    The United States is seeking for ways possible to get humanitarian relief reaches Syria. It is engaged in comprehensive diplomatic efforts to secure unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to reach those in need.

  • Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.