Norway contributes with NOK 150 million to the refugee situation in Syria and the region

The conflict in Syria has entered its fifth year with no immediate end in sight. As the conflict is intensifying with spillover effect on Iraq, distributing aid to persons in need is becoming increasingly difficult. Almost four million Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries in the region, while more than 7, 6 million displaced persons are currently trapped inside Syria. Over half of the Syrians residing in the refugee camps are children, many of whom suffer physical and psychological traumas.  The Syrian crisis spread to Iraq about one year ago, and so far nearly three million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes.

From the total donation of NOK 150 million (USD 18, 3 million) to UNHCR´s emergency operations in Syria and the region, NOK 18 million (USD 2, 9 million) will go to support response activities in Jordan, NOK 20 million (USD 2, 4 million) is allocated to assist humanitarian activities in Iraq and NOK 10 million (USD 1, 2 million) will be spent on providing protection to children as well as funding to facilitate educational activities. Of the remaining amount, NOK 102 million will be used where the need is greatest.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of people displaced by the hostilities remain inside Syria and Iraq, millions of people in urgent need of protection, are fleeing onwards to neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey or embarking on dangerous migratory routes to Europe. During the last couple of months, the international community has witnessed the consequences of these voyages, which have resulted in a devastating toll of human life in the Mediterranean.

Concerning the contribution of NOK 40 million (USD 5,1 million) that is intended to ensure protection for Eritrean and Syrian refugees from smuggling and trafficking across the Mediterranean from the Horn of Africa, NOK 10 million (USD 1, 2 million) is specifically targeted Syrian refugees in Sudan. Another NOK 10 million (USD 1, 2 million) of the contribution will be spent on enhancing educational activities and child protection. The overall purpose of this funding is to support means for forcibly displaced populations in the Horn of Africa to become self- reliant, in order to prevent that people fall victim to smuggling and trafficking.

“UNHCR is extremely thankful for the Norwegian donations. The Syria crisis is getting worse by the day, and the Norwegian aid will secure UNHCR’s ability to continue providing lifesaving assistance and protection for vulnerable refugees”, says Pia Prytz Phiri, UNHCR’s Regional Representative for Northern Europe.

In 2014, Norway was UNHCR´s ninth largest contributor, with USD 91 million donated. Most of this donation was unearmarked, enabling UNHCR to respond immediately and simultaneously to several humanitarian emergencies and addressing acute needs. The earmarked funds have mostly focused on the situations in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan. Norway has donated NOK 1 billion (USD 128, 4 million) to the Syria crisis so far in 2015, and is the seventh largest contributor to the crisis.

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