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.