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Minister Costello announces additional €3m in humanitarian funding for Syria

Irish Aid, Funding, Minister Joe Costello, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2013

Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., today announced additional funding of   €3 million in humanitarian assistance for those affected by the conflict in Syria. This brings  Ireland’s total contribution to the international humanitarian response to almost €14 million.

The Minister announced the funding in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, where he is visiting a refugee camp to observe relief efforts and assess humanitarian needs on the ground. Since the conflict began, 780,000 refugees have arrived in Lebanon from Syria.

The Minister said:

‘While efforts continue to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria, it is essential that the  overwhelming humanitarian needs both in Syria and across the region are met. Our contribution today recognises the unprecedented scale of the crisis and the enormous demands on humanitarian agencies and neighbouring states. This funding will benefit those directly affected by the conflict and the communities here in Lebanon and in other neighbouring states which have shown such extraordinary generosity and solidarity to those fleeing Syria. It further demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to play a leading role in the global response to this crisis’.

Minister Costello will visit a health centre and a school in the Burj Barajneh camp in Beirut. The camp was established in 1948 to house Palestinian refugees from Galilee but has more recently become home to Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.

€1m of the €3m funding announced will be directed to UN agencies in Lebanon.

Minister Costello added:

‘The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has described the conflict in Syria as the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of the Cold War. Almost 7 million people require urgent assistance to meet their basic needs. More than 2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries.

Lebanon is host to more than three quarter of a million refugees from Syria in addition to over a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees. They struggle to access adequate shelter and basic services and many are vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation. With a similar population to Ireland, this gives some idea of the enormous pressure on its social services and infrastructure. Yet despite this, Lebanon has kept its border open to Syrian refugees. The funding I have announced today is Ireland’s contribution to helping Lebanon and other neighbouring states shoulder the burden of such large refugee numbers.’

In addition to humanitarian assistance, Ireland continues to support the ongoing political efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict, including through funding the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons towards the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks.