Office of the Spokesperson
February 4, 2016
Secretary Kerry announced today that the United States is providing nearly $601 million in additional life-saving humanitarian assistance for those affected by the war in Syria. This new funding brings U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to more than $5.1 billion since the start of the crisis. Secretary Kerry also announced more than $290 million in U.S. development assistance for education to Jordan and Lebanon.
The Syrian conflict is the largest and most complex humanitarian emergency of our time, with more than two-thirds of Syria’s pre-war population—17 million people—in need of humanitarian assistance. Through this humanitarian funding, the United States continues to provide food, shelter, water, medical care, humanitarian protection, and other urgent relief to millions of people suffering inside Syria and 4.6 million refugees from Syria in the region. It also helps mitigate the impact of the crisis on governments and communities throughout the region that are straining to cope with the mass influx of refugees from Syria.
The humanitarian assistance supports the operations of the United Nations, other international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Through these organizations, the United States is able to provide assistance in all 14 governorates of Syria, helping the people who need it most—and ultimately saving lives and alleviating suffering amid daily threats of violence and deprivation.
Our assistance supports critical humanitarian needs including those addressed in the 2016 UN appeal of $8 billion for Syria and the region. Part of the new funding responds directly to the appeal. Contributions from other donors are crucial to meeting emergency needs in 2016. The Assad regime continues to barrel bomb cities, use starvation as a weapon of war, and target civilians in schools, mosques, markets, and hospitals while violent extremist groups like ISIL and Al Nusrah Front also continue to brutalize Syrians every day. In addition to the horror of war in Syria, we also see the plight of refugees fleeing the region to European countries and are reminded of the need to provide humanitarian assistance and to promote inclusion and self-reliance in countries of first asylum. The United States reiterates that all parties to the conflict must cease unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law.
More than $290 million in U.S. development assistance will continue to support the Jordanian and Lebanese ministries of education in their goal of increasing access to high-quality education and supporting learning for all students, including Syrian refugees. Our education assistance will reach approximately 230,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, and 62,000 in Lebanon.
The United States recognizes that along with emergency relief, we must address the long-term development needs of Syria’s neighbors, and the funding we are providing will continue to support communities in neighboring countries that have so generously hosted those refugees. There are 4.6 million Syrian refugees in the region today, the vast majority of whom receive support in the first country to which they flee. As we saw with the exodus to Europe this summer, Syrians who cannot find protection and assistance in Syria and neighboring countries, make difficult decisions to undertake dangerous journeys at great personal peril.
The humanitarian crises around the world have made painfully clear that despite our best efforts, all nations must do more. As Secretary Kerry recently announced, the United States is seeking commitments to expand the humanitarian safety net and create more long-term, durable opportunities for refugees worldwide. U.S. efforts to galvanize significant new global commitments will build toward a high-level summit on refugees hosted by President Obama at the United Nations General Assembly in September. This event will be the culmination of a vigorous, sustained diplomatic effort undertaken by the United States over the coming months to increase humanitarian assistance, access to resettlement and other legal forms of admission, and refugee self-reliance and inclusion through employment and education.
The United States remains committed to assisting those affected by this terrible war and strongly urges all governments, organizations, and individuals concerned about the situation to support the life-saving aid efforts of UN and other partners.
Highlights of Humanitarian Assistance:
UNHCR: More than $191 million
UNHCR’s Syria operation is now the organization’s largest refugee assistance operation; UNHCR provides both immediate support to new refugees and continuous support to vulnerable refugees. UNHCR also works with other UN agencies to assist persons in need inside Syria. The funding allows UNHCR to continue providing refugees and internally-displaced persons with shelter, protection (including registration, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and mental health support), and daily necessities, either in-kind such as blankets, bedding, and cooking utensils or through cash assistance. UNHCR’s efforts are increasingly focused on assistance to non-camp refugees and host communities as well as refugees in camps. In various locations throughout the region, in addition to the above, UNHCR also works in the areas of education, health care and employment support.
WFP: $83 million
Millions of Syrians, both inside the country and in neighboring countries, cannot independently fulfill their basic food needs and risk going hungry without continued international assistance. New USG funding will enable WFP to continue vital food assistance to millions of conflict-affected people inside Syria and to Syrian refugees in five neighboring countries. With USG support, WFP will continue to provide monthly household food parcels inside Syria, as well as vouchers to pregnant women and nursing mothers to improve their nutrition. In neighboring countries, WFP will continue to provide food voucher debit cards, which refugees use to buy groceries in local supermarkets, improving household nutrition and the appropriateness of available foods. To date, the food voucher debit cards have injected $1.25 billion into the economies of Syria’s neighbors, creating economic benefits for the nations and communities hosting refugees.
UNICEF: More than $73 million
Syria’s children continue to pay a heavy toll in the conflict. They constitute half of Syria’s refugees and internally displaced persons. Inside Syria, over two million children are out of school and one of every four schools has been damaged or destroyed. As a result, many Syrian children in the country have little or no access to educational opportunities, and those arriving in neighboring countries as refugees are behind in schooling and face limited education opportunities. Today’s announcement allows UNICEF to continue its child protection, education, child health, vaccinations and water and sanitation programs throughout the region, demonstrating the United States’ strong support of the No Lost Generation initiative to invest in the future of the region.
Humanitarian Assistance Funding Numbers by Organization
|Organization||This Announcement||New Total – Since FY 2012|
|UNHCR||$191 million||$1.3 billion|
|WFP||$83 million||$1.3 billion|
|NGOs||$159 million||$1.3 billion|
|UNICEF||$73 million||$465 million|
|UNRWA||$48 million||$329 million|
|ICRC||$32 million||$181 million|
|IOM||$7 million||$55 million|
|WHO||$1 million||$45 million|
|UNFPA||$7 million||$38 million|
|Other International Organizations||—||$34 million|
|Other (admin)||—||$7.4 million|
|TOTAL*||$601 million||$5.1 billion|
Note: Amounts may not sum to column total due to rounding
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country
INSIDE SYRIA: Nearly $314 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $2.6 billion
U.S. humanitarian assistance continues to provide critical, life-saving support to millions of people across Syria. The new U.S. contribution supports life-saving emergency food assistance, including monthly household food parcels, flour to bakeries, and food vouchers. The contribution also supports medical care, cash assistance for emergency needs, funding for shelters, water, and sanitation and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis. It also provides critical relief supplies and much-needed counseling and protection programs to help the most vulnerable, including children, women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.
LEBANON: More than $133 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $1.1 billion
The UN estimates that Lebanon is the highest per capita refugee host country in the world, with over one million Syrian refugees, in addition to approximately 42,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria and the longstanding Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon. Today’s announcement provides additional support to both refugees and Lebanese host communities. With the additional funding, the UN and international organization partners in Lebanon can continue to deliver shelter assistance, food voucher debit cards, education, health care, cash assistance for emergency needs, and basic relief items like blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits. For many of the non-food sectors, the UN uses efficient electronic cards to distribute aid and reach more people in need.
The additional U.S. funding also supports vulnerable Lebanese communities hosting refugees by rehabilitating the municipal water and sanitation systems, supporting local community centers, providing supplies and new equipment to health clinics, and improving school facilities.
JORDAN: More than $62 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $730 million
In Jordan, nearly 85 percent of Syrian refugees live in Jordanian towns and cities — not refugee camps. While U.S. funding will continue to support refugees living in camps, it also supports non-camp refugees seeking to ensure all refugees have civil documentation and refugee registration. The funding will provide continued food voucher debit cards to families, cash assistance to meet basic needs, maternal and child health care, and rehabilitation of inadequate shelter with the goal of ensuring refugees do not have to resort to desperate efforts to earn money, such as sending children to work instead of going to school. This funding also goes toward education support so that all children can access the education they need and deserve and, for the nearly 90,000 children who cannot be accommodated in public schools, this funding provides informal educational activities in child and adolescent-friendly spaces and psychosocial support to recover from the trauma suffered in Syria. Finally, U.S. funding supports life- saving food, shelter, water and healthcare for the nearly 20,000 Syrians stranded at the Jordanian border with Syria.
U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of more than 16,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria, by providing them with cash assistance for essential needs and helping them to access health care and educational services.
TURKEY: Nearly $54 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $379 million
U.S. funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of over 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkish urban areas, host communities, and camps. Funding to UNHCR provides access to legal protection, greater psychosocial support and prevention of gender based violence; tents, blankets, and kitchen sets; targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees; and technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps build additional schools, pay teachers’ stipends to provide quality education, buys school supplies and provides programming for children that emphasizes life skills. Through the World Food Program, the U.S. provides refugees food voucher debit cards that allow families to purchase nutritious food items. Support for the International Organization of Migration supports basic household needs for refugees, school transportation, mental health support, and shelter. The UN Population Fund provides women with hygiene kits, reproductive counseling, gender-based violence prevention and response services, youth programming, and language training. Funding to WHO supports the establishment of temporary heath centers and programs that help recertify and train Syrian doctors to join the Turkish healthcare system.
IRAQ: Nearly $24 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $228 million
In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 96 percent of Syrian refugees in the country, and has provided more than 2,000 square miles of land for the establishment of 11 camp and transit sites. This additional funding aims to repair health centers, expand schools, and improve water sanitation systems in refugee and host communities, as well as to manage and maintain camps. Other funding is going towards food voucher debit cards, initiatives targeting women and girls, to provide vocational and language training, general literacy training, and reproductive health, in addition to raising awareness about gender-based violence and early marriage issues. Assistance will also provide child protection activities, including recreational activities and psychosocial care.
EGYPT: $13 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $102 million
Our increased funding will help to provide increasingly critical protection and assistance to the all-urban Syrian refugee caseload in Egypt. The U.S. contribution enables humanitarian partners to expand assistance in major refugee-hosting cities such as Cairo and Alexandria with community-focused projects for refugees and host families in an effort to address the deteriorating protection environment. Assistance also targets prevention of and responsiveness to sexual and gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, distribution of food voucher debit cards, and improved access to health care services.
Humanitarian Assistance Funding Numbers by Country
|Country||This Announcement||Total – Since FY 2012|
|Inside Syria||$314 million||$2.6 billion|
|Lebanon||$133 million||$1.1 billion|
|Jordan||$62 million||$730 million|
|Turkey||$54 million||$379 million|
|Iraq||$24 million||$228 million|
|Egypt||$13 million||$102 million|
|Regional||$1 million||$11 million|
|TOTAL*||$601 million||$5.1 billion|
Note: Amounts may not sum to column total due to rounding