The European Commission said yesterday (1 December) that it had provided the promised €200 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria and Iraq. The aid package was announced in September by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggesting to increase the EU’s humanitarian budget by €200 million for 2015 and €300 million for 2016 for the Syria crisis.
Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, commented that the EU was delivering on its commitment “to support the most vulnerable people affected by the Syria crisis both inside Syria and in the region.” He also pointed out that “Iraq’s humanitarian situation should not be overlooked: it could become another Syria, if we do not mobilize sufficient support and assistance.” He therefore emphasized that humanitarian aid and protection have a strategic value for Iraq’s future efforts for reconciliation.
The Commission also announced additional aid yesterday. For Iraq it would be extra €40 million that would be used to provide lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable Iraqis, mostly displaced people and internal and Syrian refugees. The aid will be used to provide food, shelter, health and water as well as hygiene and sanitation. In Syria, the EU’s aid also focused on displaced individuals providing them with access to potable water and life-saving health assistance and medical care including vaccination programs of children.
The €200-million package has been channeled through the UN agencies, other international organizations, and international NGO partners. The EU28 is the major donor to the Syria crisis with approximately €4.4 billion from the EU and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilization assistance. Member States have moreover committed themselves to boosting humanitarian assistance even further aiming to contribute as much as €1 billion over 2015-16.