AMMAN, 27 August - Minister of State, Joe Costello, T.D., today announced an additional €1.5 million ($1.9) in life-saving assistance to help address the devastating humanitarian consequences of the conflict in Syria. This will bring Irish Aid's total contribution to date to over €2 million.
The Minister made his announcement during a visit to the UN run Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
The funding and humanitarian supplies for Ireland’s UN and NGO implementing partners in the region will provide essential shelter, food, medicine and basic household items to thousands of Syrians. The assistance will reach the vulnerable populations inside Syria and also those who have fled the conflict and sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
In Za’atari refugee camp on the border with Syria, the Minister met with men, women and children who recounted harrowing stories of the escalating conflict within Syria. He saw how the United Nations and other aid agencies are working tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to provide basic shelter, food and health services to the ever growing refugee population.
In the last few days the numbers of refugees entering Jordan has increased drastically, with over 6,000 arriving since yesterday. With reports of continued atrocities inside Syria it is expected that thousands more refugees will cross in the coming days. In response to the influx of refugees, the Jordanian government has called on the international community to support the needs of the refugees. The humanitarian operation will need to be massively scaled up, requiring additional resources and supplies.
Speaking after his visit to the camp, the Minister said:
"Syria and its neighbours are facing an enormous and growing humanitarian crisis as a result of the escalating violence within Syria.
There are over 2.5 million people in need within the country and over 170,000 refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Lack of funds is the main factor hampering the humanitarian response.
The funding I announced today will enable our UN partners and aid agencies to scale up their assistance to the millions of vulnerable Syrians whose lives are at risk due to the escalating conflict.
Ireland is committed to supporting them through these extremely difficult times."
Following his visit to Za'atari the Minister met with H.E. Mr. Nasser S. Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The two discussed the political situation in Syria as well as its humanitarian consequences and agreed to cooperate closely together, in particular in regard to Ireland's forthcoming Presidency of the EU.
Speaking from Amman, Minister Costello said that the timing of the visit offered an opportunity to demonstrate Ireland’s leadership on humanitarian issues and our desire to help respond to one of the most complex humanitarian and political emergencies in the world today.
27 August 2012
Note to editors:
• Funding will be provided to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (€842,000), the World Health Organisation (€300,000), the International Committee of the Red Cross (€300,000), and the International Refugee Committee (€100,000).
• Ireland continues to engage at an international level to help find a sustainable solution to the crisis, especially to find ways to assist those Syrians most affected by the unrest. This has included representation at the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Tunis and each of the four ‘Humanitarian Forum on Syria’ meetings in Geneva. Ireland has been insisting on the full implementation of Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.
• For further information, visit contact the Press Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-4082275/ 2550.