• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

European Union donates €63 million to UNHCR for Syria operations

News Stories, 18 December 2013

© UNHCR/A.McConnell
With winter affecting parts of Syria, UNHCR has been distributing aid to keep the displaced warm and dry. European Union funds are important for ensuring winter supplies.

BRUSSELS, Belgium, December 18 (UNHCR) The European Union on Wednesday donated €63 million to the UN refugee agency for its operations for Syrians displaced by the war in their country. It was the largest single contribution that UNHCR has received from the EU.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres welcomed the donation from one of UNHCR's most important partners. "We must do whatever we can to help those who have lost everything through this conflict," he said before attending a signing ceremony in Brussels with EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva.

"One of UNHCR's priorities is to bolster support in the neighbouring countries during the winter, where the vast majority of Syrian refugees live and where needs are greater than ever," Guterres added, referring to the bitter weather that has descended on parts of Syria and neighbouring countries.

The EU assistance will allow UNHCR to provide vital support to those most impacted by the largest humanitarian crisis the world is facing. There are currently more than 2.3 million refugees and an estimated 6.5 million displaced within Syria.

Georgieva stressed how important the humanitarian work being carried out for Syrians was. "Our collaboration with the major UN agencies is vital to the overall relief assistance being provided by Europe for this terrible crisis. Working together has enabled us to reach many of the millions of men, women and children who are suffering as a result of this tragic conflict," she stressed.

The EU's contribution will support the work of UNHCR and its partners in providing humanitarian assistance to people displaced in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to the Syrian capital Damascus on 2 October, 2009 to meet Iraqi refugees two years after her last visit. The award-winning American actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, took the opportunity to urge the international community not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who remain in exile despite a relative improvement in the security situation in their homeland. Jolie said most Iraqi refugees cannot return to Iraq in view of the severe trauma they experienced there, the uncertainty linked to the coming Iraqi elections, the security issues and the lack of basic services. They will need continued support from the international community, she said. The Goodwill Ambassador visited the homes of two vulnerable Iraqi families in the Jaramana district of southern Damascus. She was particularly moved during a meeting with a woman from a religious minority who told Jolie how she was physically abused and her son tortured after being abducted earlier this year in Iraq and held for days. They decided to flee to Syria, which has been a generous host to refugees.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

As world concern grows over the plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, including more than 200,000 refugees, UNHCR staff are working around the clock to provide vital assistance in neighbouring countries. At the political level, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was due on Thursday (August 30) to address a closed UN Security Council session on Syria.

Large numbers have crossed into Lebanon to escape the violence in Syria. By the end of August, more than 53,000 Syrians across Lebanon had registered or received appointments to be registered. UNHCR's operations for Syrian refugees in Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley resumed on August 28 after being briefly suspended due to insecurity.

Many of the refugees are staying with host families in some of the poorest areas of Lebanon or in public buildings, including schools. This is a concern as the school year starts soon. UNHCR is urgently looking for alternative shelter. The majority of the people looking for safety in Lebanon are from Homs, Aleppo and Daraa and more than half are aged under 18. As the conflict in Syria continues, the situation of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon remains precarious.

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

By mid-September, more than 200,000 Syrian refugees had crossed the border into Turkey. UNHCR estimates that half of them are children, and many have seen their homes destroyed in the conflict before fleeing to the border and safety.

The Turkish authorities have responded by building well-organized refugee camps along southern Turkey's border with Syria. These have assisted 120,000 refugees since the crisis conflict erupted in Syria. There are currently 12 camps hosting 90,000 refugees, while four more are under construction. The government has spent approximately US$300 million to date, and it continues to manage the camps and provide food and medical services.

The UN refugee agency has provided the Turkish government with tents, blankets and kitchen sets for distribution to the refugees. UNHCR also provides advice and guidelines, while staff from the organization monitor voluntary repatriation of refugees.

Most of the refugees crossing into Turkey come from areas of northern Syria, including the city of Aleppo. Some initially stayed in schools or other public buildings, but they have since been moved into the camps, where families live in tents or container homes and all basic services are available.

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

Serbia: Overstretched BordersPlay video

Serbia: Overstretched Borders

As Hungary builds a fence on its border with Serbia, the situation at the border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece is increasingly precarious. Refugees in Serbia on their way to Hungry fear the tighter measures and say they wouldn't have fled home had they not been forced to do it by the war.
Saving Diana: A Syrian Refugee With Special NeedsPlay video

Saving Diana: A Syrian Refugee With Special Needs

Ten year old Diana was born in Syria with a severe form of Cerebral Palsy. For nearly a month, she traveled with her mother and brother across deserts and sea in search of safety in Europe.
To Turkey from Kobani, Syria: Ivra's Story Play video

To Turkey from Kobani, Syria: Ivra's Story

As Syrian refugee numbers surpass 4 million, many families and bright young people in camps across the region wonder about their future prospects. Ivra is 13 years old, she had a great life back home in Kobani, Syria. She was a top student who loved sports and reading English literature. One day the conflict reached her school and home and changed her life forever. The fluent English speaker is now one of many refugees who fled to Turkey. She lives in the country's biggest refugee camp.