Finland grants additional humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis
By decision of Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala, Finland grants 1.5 million euros of humanitarian assistance to those suffering from the crisis in Syria. The support will be targeted for persons in need of assistance, both those within Syria as well those who have fled to neighbouring countries. It will be channelled through the Finnish Red Cross, the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, the United Nations Childrens Fund.
Protraction of the political crisis that broke out in Syria in spring 2011 and the increased violence have led to deterioration of the countrys humanitarian situation. The UN estimates that more than 1.5 million people need emergency assistance and this need is expected to grow. At least one million Syrians have fled the violence within the country and more than 155,000 Syrian refugees are registered in neighbouring countries. The UN works incessantly to ensure that humanitarian actors are able to operate freely in Syria despite the continuing violence.
Through the Finnish Red Cross, support will be given to the activities of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Syria. The IFRC supports the relief work of the Syrian Red Crescent (SARC) outside combat areas. With the help of the IFRC, the SARC provides healthcare and medical treatment, drinking water, daily supplies and food assistance to internally displaced and other vulnerable persons.
The assistance provided by the WFP in Syria has so far has been traditional food aid. During July, food distributions have reached nearly 550,000 people, and at times the distributions could be extended to include the areas worst affected by the violence. In neighbouring countries, the WFP has in part been able to distribute cash and coupons as well, which benefits not only the recipients but also the local economies. In addition, the WFP offers key logistics support to the entire humanitarian community.
UNICEFs main partner in Syria is the Syrian Red Crescent (SARC). Relief efforts within Syria are focused on child welfare activities, the promotion of education and nutrition issues, securing the supply of clean water and the development of sanitation conditions, and the distribution of various commodities. In Syrias neighbouring countries, UNICEF supports the development of conditions and services in the refugee camps.
Finland has previously awarded 1.3 million euros in assistance for the Syrian crisis. The aid has been channelled through the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the WFP. With the award now made, the total sum granted in assistance rises to 2.8 million euros.
Additional information: Ulla-Maija Finskas, Head of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, mobile tel. +358 400 431 921 and Assistant Helena Vuokko, tel. +358 9 1605 6340