The United States recently announced new humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria, including those affected by conflict and the devastating earthquakes in February.
“The United States is proud to provide $920 million in new humanitarian assistance to support 15.3 million Syrians in Syria as well as 5.6 million Syrian refugees and host communities in the region,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced June 15.
The funding provides emergency food, shelter, health care, safe water and protection services to people inside Syria and to Syrian refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Türkiye.
The announcement includes $83 million for the humanitarian response to the February 2023 earthquakes in Syria, bringing total U.S. government assistance for the earthquake response in Syria and Türkiye to more than $315 million.
The earthquakes killed more than 54,000 people and displaced nearly 3 million across the two countries. The natural disaster added to an already dire humanitarian crisis in Syria, where more than 70% of the population now needs assistance, including 12 million people who do not have enough to eat.
Our teams continue in their efforts to address the devastation left by the #earthquake by demolishing damaged buildings based on engineering assessments. Additionally, we continue to clear rubble, and remove crumbling roofs and walls in order to safeguard civilians and assist… pic.twitter.com/AJZpoEhY4l
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) June 18, 2023
The new funding, announced at the seventh Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region,” brings the total amount of U.S.-funded humanitarian aid to more than $16 billion since the crisis in Syria began in 2012. More than $1.1 billion of that funding has been provided since October 2022.
The U.S. is the single largest humanitarian donor to the Syria response. This funding enables U.S. partner organizations to continue providing urgently needed food, health care services, shelter and other relief for people affected or displaced by conflict or natural disasters, the U.S. Agency for International Development says.
U.S. partner organizations responding to the earthquakes in Syria include Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, which rescued thousands of people from the wreckage after the earthquakes hit.
Hosted by the European Union, the Brussels Conference mobilized international support for the Syrian people and for neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees. The annual conference also seeks to further a political solution to the conflict in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254.
At the conference, U.S. Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya thanked Syria’s neighbors for taking in refugees and called on the Syrian regime to allow aid to enter the country unhindered.
“The February earthquakes in northern Syria and southern Türkiye added a ‘crisis on a crisis,’ exacerbating an already dire humanitarian and human rights situation,” Zeya said, applauding donors and welcoming new pledges.
“Nonetheless, more international support is needed to help the Syrian people, and to ensure that Syrian civil society remains viable and strong,” she added.