US Provides Additional $8M for Humanitarian Aid to Syria

With an estimated 300,000 displaced Syrians due to war in the country, the United States of America today provided an additional $8 million in humanitarian assistance to support the people of Syria, bringing the total amount of U.S. emergency aid to nearly $33 million to date for this crisis.

The United States seeks every avenue to get humanitarian aid to those affected by the violence in Syria.

The UN and Arab League’s Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan (left), meets with Major General Robert Mood of Norway, who has been appointed to lead a technical team from the UN to Syria.

UN Photo/Fabrice Arlot

The United States is engaged in focused diplomatic efforts to secure full and unfettered access for humanitarian organizations to reach 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 Departmetn, 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.

In addition, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is providing assistance to Syrians and other civilians at great risk as well.

Reports say sixty thousand people in several governorates, including Homs, Lattakia, Dara’a and Rural Damascus, have received food and other essentials over the last two weeks from the SARC, with ICRC support.

Non-Syrian refugee populations within Syria are also suffering from economic disruption related to the crisis, including 500,000 Palestinian refugees and 100,000 Iraqi refugees who have traditionally enjoyed government protection in Syria.

Vulnerable refugee populations within Syria are receiving food and cash assistance, emergency health care, water, sanitation, and educational support through partners with U.S. government funding, US State Department reportes.

In March, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a special alert voicing serious concern over the state of food security, especially for vulnerable groups.

Progovernment demonstration in Latakia.

WFP says 1.4 million people have become food insecure as a result of the violence. The agency is providing food aid to 100,000 people affected by the civil conflict in 11 governorates in Syria.

The WFP operation provides rations to displaced Syrians as well.

Host families, households that have lost breadwinners or livelihoods, female-headed households, and unaccompanied minors will also benefit the food rations.

Over 94 percent of targeted beneficiaries-some 85,000 people received food assistance in the latest cycle of WFP distributions, and the remaining distributions were delayed due to insecurity, US State Department noted.

As of March 29, approximately 30,400 beneficiaries in 9 governorates have been reached in the current distribution cycle that began on March 15.

Several of the worst-affected areas within the governorates remain inaccessible due to insecurity. However, the United States pledges that distributions will resume as security permits.

In addition, WFP has been working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to distribute the food to some of the most vulnerable families in the country, she added. Many Syrians were already grappling with high food prices, but the situation has deteriorated for families who have lost their property in the ongoing conflict and as a result of drought.

The agency is also providing food aid to an estimated 100,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria using a text messaging system that enables people to buy rice, cheese, eggs and fresh produce.

Reports say, since February 20, the World Food Program has delivered 16,850 family food ration to feed approximately 84,000 people for one month.

The WFP operation provides rations to displaced Syrians and host families, households that have lost breadwinners or livelihoods, and other food-insecure families. Several hard hit areas within the governorates remain inaccessible due to insecurity or government restrictions.

In addition, the United States recognizes the generosity of the Governments of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, who have kept their borders open and are hosting and providing assistance to those fleeing from violence.

According to reports, there were approximately:

  • 23,700 Syrians in Turkey;
  • 22,000 Syrians in Lebanon;
  • 14,400 Syrians in Jordan; and
  • 2,400 Syrians in Iraq.

UNHCR has provided almost 34,000 blankets, 10,000 bed mats and 5,100 family tents in response to the arrival of displaced Syrians in Turkey and the earthquake in Van.

In Lebanon, 3,000 people received food and hygiene kits from UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council, with the help of local municipalities and charities.

In Jordan, nearly 2,600 individuals received out-patient health services through UNHCR and its implementing partners since April 1, 2011. Three clinics, in the cities where most Syrians are located, provide free health services to vulnerable Syrians.

In Iraq, the Government of Iraq has opened a new camp for Syrians fleeing the violence.

The US State Department reports that as of April 15, UNHCR and IOM provided 104 families with non-food items, such as blankets, mattresses, cooking sets, and other items.

Earlier this month, to address the grave humanitarian crisis in Syria, the United States of America has provided an additional $12.2 million in humanitarian assistance to support the people of Syria.

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.