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Minister Flanagan & MoS McHugh announce €5 million in humanitarian funding for Syria & Yemen

Funding, Minister Charles Flanagan, MoS Joe McHugh, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2016

- Minister Flanagan condemns cowardly attacks on hospitals and medical facilities in Syria

- Minister of State McHugh stresses the importance of investing in Syria’s youth

- In Yemen, 80% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid, Joe McHugh, TD, today announced €3 million in Irish Aid humanitarian funding, in response to the tragic crisis in Syria.

On announcing the €3million funding for Syria, Minister Flanagan said:

“The Syrian conflict and its harrowing effects on the people of Syria continues to dominate the agenda of foreign affairs ministers at our gatherings. Last Monday at the Foreign Affairs Council EU Foreign Ministers expressed strong support for the UN’s efforts to reach a political solution to the conflict and for the UN work to break the sieges which are denying basic humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

“While this work is happening, civilians are in dire straits. Life inside Syria has become almost impossible, and 13.5 million people there are in need of humanitarian assistance. We must ensure that these people are not forgotten, so €2 million of today’s €3 million in Syria funding is directed to organisations which are working inside the country, in an appallingly difficult environment

“I reiterate my call on parties to the conflict to grant sustained humanitarian access to all populations, and to allow for the unhindered delivery of vital humanitarian relief. I condemn the cowardly attacks on hospitals and medical facilities, and I am appalled that convoys of medicines, food supplies, and even baby food have been prevented from reaching their destinations.

The funding announced today includes €1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has a track record of getting relief to hard-to-reach areas and besieged towns, and €1 million for the UN’s Turkey Humanitarian Pooled Fund, which is based in Turkey but delivers aid exclusively cross-border into northern Syria.

Minister of State McHugh, on his return from the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, said:

“With the Syria crisis now in its sixth year,a whole generation is at risk of being lost to the war, with over 9 million of those affected being under the age of 18. We need to invest in Syria’s youth, and most importantly, rebuild their educational opportunities. This starts with restoring schools, building new ones for displaced children and providing support services for children who have been traumatised by their experiences in this crisis.”

Irish Aid has today allocated €1 million to UNICEF for its activities as part of the regional No Lost Generation initiative in Syria and the wider region.
Ministers Flanagan and McHugh also announced €2 million in humanitarian support for Yemen, where a deadly civil war which erupted in March 2015 has left 21 million people in need of help, with Minister McHugh saying:

“The scale of humanitarian need in Yemen is difficult to comprehend, with 21.1 million people, over 80% of the population, in need of assistance. Prior to the current crisis, many of these people were already experiencing extreme levels of poverty, deprivation and food insecurity.”

Yemen is an arid country, where the long-term effects of drought and poverty have been exacerbated by a conflict which erupted in March 2015. Irish Aid will contribute €2 million to the UN’s Yemen Humanitarian Pooled Fund, which makes use of local knowledge to ensure that those frontline organisations who are best-placed to respond, are given the means to reach those in need.

Press Office
27 May 2016

Notes for editors: