Canada Outlines Humanitarian Assistance in Response to Syrian Crisis

August 28, 2013 - More than two years since the beginning of the crisis, the armed conflict continues to have devastating humanitarian consequences in Syria and neighbouring countries. Today, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie outlined details of $42.8 million in allocations to humanitarian organizations, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 17, 2013.

“Canada has led the world in demonstrating compassion and generosity in response to the truly horrific circumstances facing the Syrian people,” said Baird. “The Government of Canada is delivering its assistance through experienced humanitarian partners such as the UN’s World Food Programme, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other non-governmental organizations.”

Canada’s humanitarian assistance will address the urgent needs of up to 6.8 million conflict-affected people (including 3.1 million children) living in Syria, 4.25 million of whom are internally displaced. It will also help address the urgent needs of close to two million refugees from Syria in neighbouring countries and North Africa.

“Canada is helping to ensure that Syrian people affected by the crisis receive the life-saving emergency support they need,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada’s support will help to ensure that emergency health services, shelter, food, water and protection are provided to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.”

The Syrian people have been subject to appalling levels of violence and brutality, and it is estimated that more than 100,000 people have been killed and 400,000 injured in the fighting since the beginning of the crisis.

“We understand that as the crisis in Syria worsens, Canada will continue to do more to address the urgent needs of the Syrian people,” said Baird.

The Syrian crisis is one of the most significant humanitarian catastrophes of the 21st century, and it is, unfortunately, expected that the humanitarian needs will continue to grow past the end of 2013.

Canada continues to call on all parties to the conflict to guarantee humanitarian access and allow for the safe delivery of emergency relief to those who need help the most. Canada remains committed to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to those in need, both inside Syria and in neighboring countries.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada Provides Humanitarian Assistance During the Syrian Crisis

On August 28th, 2013, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, outlined the details of $42.8 million of the $90 million in humanitarian assistance that was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 17, 2013.

Humanitarian Assistance in Syria: $22 million

United Nations World Food Programme: $14.5 million

Canada’s support will provide emergency food assistance to crisis-affected Syrians, as well as nutritious supplementary foods to children aged 6 to 59 months through the provision of:

  • emergency food assistance on a monthly basis for up to four million crisis-affected people; and
  • monthly supplementary feeding products for 300,000 children.

International Organization for Migration: $2 million

Canada’s support will assist internally displaced people to meet their urgent relief needs through the provision of:

  • increased access to shelter for 87,500 internally displaced people;
  • improved living conditions for 500,000 of the most vulnerable crisis-affected people, including women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities, by providing non-food relief items (including hygiene kits, kitchen sets and winterization kits);
  • increased access to primary health care and referral services for 50,000 crisis-affected Syrians; and
  • improved access to livelihoods for 30,000 internally displaced persons.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): $400,000

Canada’s support will help manage the humanitarian-coordination system in Syria and help enable OCHA to advocate improved access for vulnerable populations to services and assistance through:

  • enhanced coordination of the humanitarian response inside Syria;
  • improved humanitarian access to crisis-affected people; and
  • regular and comprehensive reporting on the situation and the needs of affected populations.

Other Humanitarian Partners: $5.1 million

Canada’s support to multiple humanitarian partners will meet the urgent needs of Syrian families displaced or seriously affected by the ongoing conflict in the country. Assistance will include:

  • increased access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities;
  • increased access to essential non-food items;
  • shelter for displaced families; and
  • nutritious food for children, breastfeeding mothers and vulnerable people.

Humanitarian Assistance in the Region: $20.8 million

A) Projects at Regional or Multi-Country Level

United Nations World Food Programme: $17.5 million

Canada’s support will assist refugees from Syria and vulnerable populations in host communities through improved access to:

  • emergency food assistance through food parcels, food vouchers and e-vouchers for up to 2.7 million people;
  • welcome meals for new refugee arrivals;
  • supplementary food assistance for children and for pregnant and lactating women; and
  • school meal programs.

International Committee of the Red Cross: $1.3 million

Canada’s support will provide medical assistance to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon to:

  • improve living conditions for up to 150,000 Syrian refugees through the distribution of non-food relief items;
  • improve health for refugees through effective and efficient access to emergency health care;
  • improve psychosocial well-being for refugees through the provision of psychosocial services;
  • improve food security and relief for refugees through the distribution of cash assistance; and
  • enhance the operational capacity of national societies to respond or scale up their services.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: $1 million

Canada’s support will deliver immediate assistance to a total of 258,465 persons: 65,000 in Jordan, 137,000 in Lebanon and 56,465 in Iraq to:

  • improve health for refugees through effective and efficient access to emergency and health care;
  • improve psychosocial well-being for refugees through the provision of psychosocial services;
  • improve food security and relief for refugees through distribution of food parcels and non-food items; and
  • enhance operational capacity of national societies to respond and/or scale up their services.

B) Projects in Jordan

World Vision Canada: $1 million

Canada’s support will provide water and sanitation assistance, as well as child protection services, in Irbid and Ma’an governorates, benefiting approximately 25,700 Syrian refugees and host-community members through the provision of:

  • improved access to potable water for 6,000 people within Syrian-refugee and host-community populations;
  • secure, sanitary and culturally appropriate water and sanitation facilities to schools, benefiting 12,000 children;
  • a sanitation- and hygiene-promotion campaign targeting refugee and host-community populations;
  • child-protection services in four child-friendly spaces, benefiting 640 vulnerable children; and
  • strengthened community-based child-protection mechanisms among targeted host-community and refugee populations.

Humanitarian Assistance Provided During the Syrian Crisis

Since early 2011, the unrest in Syria has led more than 1.9 million Syrians to seek refuge in the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey, resulting in significant humanitarian needs. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 6.8 million people inside Syria, including 4.25 million who are internally displaced, also need urgent help. It is estimated that 100,000 people have died in the ongoing conflict, with hundreds of thousands more wounded.

Since January 2012, Canada has committed $158.5 million to international humanitarian assistance efforts in Syria and neighbouring countries, including Prime Minister Harper’s June 17, 2013, announcement of $90 million in response to urgent appeals. This assistance is delivered through experienced humanitarian partners, and it is contributing to significant results on the ground.

In Syria, Canada is helping:         

  • the World Food Programme (WFP) provide monthly food assistance to four million conflict-affected Syrians;
  • the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) meet the basic needs of three million people displaced from their homes;
  • the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provide health services, including vaccinations, primary health care and psychosocial support, as well as clean drinking-water and hygiene kits, to 1.7 million children;
  • the International Organization for Migration (IOM) provide emergency shelter for 87,500 people unable to live in their homes;
  • OCHA inform international and national organizations of ongoing needs and humanitarian activities;
  • the United Nations Department of Safety and Security support United Nations agencies to deliver humanitarian assistance safely and efficiently; and
  • other humanitarian partners provide clean drinking-water to 1.1 million people by trucking in water and repairing damaged water infrastructure; and provide basic relief items, primary health care and medicines to 650,000 beneficiaries

For Syrian refugees living in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Canada is helping:

  • WFP provide basic food to 800,000 people;
  • UNHCR meet the basic needs of 1.7 million people;
  • UNICEF provide essential services, including education for 67,900 children, vaccinations for 430,000 children, health services for 300,000 crisis-affected people and safe water and sanitation for 1.4 million crisis-affected people, especially mothers and children; and
  • IOM provide basic items to 770,000 crisis-affected people, as well as transportation and healthcare assistance for 110,000 Syrian refugees

In Turkey, Canada is helping:

  • other humanitarian partners provide food, water and shelter, along with items such as hygiene kits, blankets, heaters and winter clothing, to 225,000 displaced Syrians at the Turkey-Syria border.

In Jordan, Canada is helping:

  • UNICEF provide clean water for washing and drinking to 300,000 Syrian refugees living in camps;
  • CARE Canada provide emergency shelter, food and basic items to 12,500 crisis-affected people;
  • Save the Children Canada provide education and psychological support to 9,000 crisis-affected children; and
  • Handicap International provide health and protection assistance to 18,650 refugees, including people with injuries, disabilities and chronic illnesses, as well as elderly refugees.

In Lebanon, Canada is helping:

  • UNHCR provide shelter to 380,000 Syrians fleeing the conflict and much-needed relief supplies to 445,000 people;
  • World Vision Canada provide clean drinking water, hygiene assistance and emergency funds to 3,750 crisis-affected people;
  • Development and Peace provide emergency health-care services to 30,000 crisis-affected people; and
  • Save the Children Canada provide child protection services, education and basic support to 8,000 people, including children.

In Iraq, Canada is helping:

  • UNICEF provide 87,500 children with access to education and 260,000 Syrian refugees with access to essential health services.