New U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Respond to Syria Crisis

June 25, 2015

In commemoration of World Refugee Day, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced at the White House today that the United States is providing more than $360 million in additional life-saving assistance for those affected by the war in Syria.  This new funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to more than $1.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 and over $4 billion since the fighting began in 2011.

The funding supports the operations of the United Nations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as other international and non-governmental organizations.  It will provide shelter, water, medical care, food, protection, and other necessities to millions of people suffering inside Syria and nearly four million refugees from Syria in the region.  It also aids governments and communities throughout the region that are straining to cope with the mass influx of refugees from Syria.

The new funding will partially respond to the 2015 appeals of $8.4 billion from the United Nations for Syria and the region.  Unfortunately, even with the contribution we are announcing today, the UN appeal remains severely unfunded.  The suffering and the needs of the Syrian people continue to mount to levels once unthinkable.  In 2015, humanitarian needs are only likely to grow.  As the Asad regime continues to indiscriminately barrel bomb cities and attack civilian targets including schools, mosques, and hospitals, violent extremist groups like ISIL and Al Nusrah Front also continue to brutalize Syrians every day.

According to the United Nations, half of all Syrians have been driven from their pre-war homes, and many have been forced to flee repeatedly from one location to another. The crisis has displaced an estimated 7.6 million people inside the country and driven nearly four million refugees to seek protection in the region with many more fleeing to all corners of the globe to escape the violence.  These refugees- the vast majority of whom are living in host communities alongside Lebanese, Jordanians, Turks, Iraqis, and Egyptians- have exhausted the resources they brought with them and are increasingly in need of international aid to survive.

The United States recognizes that along with emergency relief, we must address the long-term development needs of Syria’s neighbors – shoring up health care and education systems, and economies overwhelmed by the millions of Syrian refugees.  We have longstanding development assistance programs to help address these priorities, and part of our funding also supports projects that benefit refugee-hosting communities throughout the region.

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 life-saving aid efforts of UN and other partners.

Further highlights:

UNHCR: More than $131.3 million

UNHCR leads the refugee response in the region – the largest refugee assistance operation in the world – and 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 will allow UNHCR to continue providing refugees and internally-displaced persons with shelter, protection (including registration, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and psycho-social support), and daily necessities, either in-kind such as blankets, bedding, and cooking utensils or through cash assistance.  UNHCR’s efforts serve refugees in camps but increasingly are focused on assistance to non-camp refugees and host communities.  In various locations throughout the region, in addition to the above, UNHCR also works in the areas of education, health care and employment support.

UNICEF: More than $53.3 million

Syria’s children are paying the heaviest toll in the conflict. They constitute half of Syria’s refugees and internally displaced persons.  Inside Syria, two million children are out of school and one of every five schools has been damaged. As a result, many Syrian children arrive in the country have little or no access to educational opportunities, and those arriving in neighboring countries as refugees are behind in schooling. Today’s announcement will allow UNICEF to continue its child protection, education, and water and sanitation programs throughout the region, demonstrating the United States’ strong support of the UNICEF-led No Lost Generation initiative to invest in the future of the region.

Funding Numbers by Organization

Country This Announcement Total – Since FY 2012
Inside Syria $180 million $2.008 billion
Lebanon   $77 million $869 million
Jordan $47 million $603 million
Turkey $32 million $291 million
Iraq $18 million $183 million
Egypt $7 million $84 million
Regional $8 million
TOTAL $360 million $4.046 billion

*Figures are rounded to the nearest million and may not sum to total due to rounding

U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country
INSIDE SYRIA:  More than $180 million. New total since FY 2012: $2.01 billion

U.S. humanitarian assistance has provided critical, life-saving support to more than five million people across Syria. The new U.S. contribution will support life-saving emergency medical care, funding for shelters, water, and sanitation and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis.  It will also provide 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 $77 million.  New total since FY 2012: $869 million*

The UN estimates that Lebanon is the highest per capita refugee hosting country in the world.  The number of refugees from Syria currently living in Lebanon includes approximately 45,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria.  Approximately half live in Palestinian refugee camps that were overcrowded even before the influx from Syria, with few resources and limited opportunities to improve their situation.  Additional U.S. support to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Lebanon provides much-needed aid, including cash, relief supplies, education, and medical care, to Palestinian refugees from Syria in camps and other communities.

Today’s announcement increases support to both refugees and host communities.  With the additional funding, the UN and international organization partners in Lebanon can continue to deliver shelter assistance, education, healthcare, cash assistance for emergency needs, and basic relief items like blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits.  The UN is also using efficient electronic cards to distribute aid and reach more people in need.

The additional U.S. funding will also support vulnerable Lebanese communities hosting refugees by rehabilitating the municipal water and sanitation systems, supporting local community centers and health clinics, and improving school facilities.

JORDAN: Nearly $47 million.  New total since FY 2012: $603 million*

In Jordan, over 80 percent of Syrian refugees live in Jordanian towns and cities outside of refugee camps.  Our support to Syrian refugees in Jordan through cash assistance to cover refugees’ basic needs and shelter costs ensures refugees don’t 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 improving school facilities, so that all children, including those with disabilities, can access the education they need and deserve.  For the nearly 80,000 children who cannot be accommodated in public schools, this funding seeks to enhance their opportunity to engage in educational activities in child and adolescent-friendly spaces and to provide them with the psychosocial support they need to recover from the trauma suffered in Syria.

U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of nearly 15,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria, helping with access to health care, educational services, and cash assistance for essential needs.

TURKEY: Nearly $32 million.  New total since FY 2012: $291 million*

U.S. funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of Syrian refugees in Turkish urban areas, host communities, and camps.  Funding to UNHCR will provide 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, and provide programming for children that emphasizes life skills, and raises awareness on landmines.  The World Food Program provides refugees with electronic food cards that allow families living in camps to purchase nutritious food items to meet their daily needs. The World Health Organization coordinates the regional emergency health response to communicable diseases and will strengthen primary health care and disease surveillance, prevention, and response. Additionally this funding will increase the number of social wor
kers, child development specialists, psychologists and interpreters in refugee camps, as well as in the 11 provinces hosting Syrian refugees.

IRAQ: $18 million.  New total since FY 2012: $183 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 new funding will be used to repair health centers, expand schools, and improve water sanitation systems in the community.  Other funding will go towards initiatives targeting women and girls, to provide vocational and language training, general literacy training and reproductive health.

EGYPT: Nearly $7 million.  New total since FY 2012: $84 million*

The increased funding will provide assistance to Syrian refugees who continue to face significant challenges as urban refugees in Egypt.  The U.S. contribution will assist humanitarian partners in expanding 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 will also target prevention of and responsiveness to gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, distribution of food vouchers, and improved access to health care services.

*Figures are rounded to the nearest million.

Funding Numbers by Country

Organization This Announcement Total – Since FY 2012
UNHCR $131 million $1.046 billion
WFP $2 million $1.171 billion
NGOs $114 million $948 million
UNICEF $53 million $354 million
UNRWA $13 million $260 million
ICRC $35 million $138 million
Other International Organizations $53 million
IOM $6 million $32 million
UNFPA $2 million $28 million
OCHA $3 million $10 million
Other (admin) $0.2 million $7 million
TOTAL $360 million $4.046 billion

*Figures are rounded to the nearest million and may not sum to total due to rounding

For more detailed information on the U.S. government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, please visit: