Humanitarian funding for Syria #1
International humanitarian efforts in response to the current unrest in Syria are severely restricted due to lack of access. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is believed to be the only international agency operating inside the country, working alongside the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to deliver food and medical supplies. According to BBC reports and the ICRC’s own website, the ICRC says conditions in Homs and Bludan are deteriorating. Access is required in order to carry on with delivery and to evacuate the wounded.
Several agencies are, however, continuing to provide assistance to Syrians that have crossed or are crossing the borders into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, said it has registered 6,375 Syrians in Lebanon but said the actual figure there is likely to be higher as not all refugees register with the agency. Turkish officials said nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees are living in tent camps along the country’s border with Syria, and reports put the number of Syrian refugees already in Jordan at 10,000.
What does that mean for funding?
There are essentially three streams of humanitarian funding flows focusing on humanitarian activity in, on and around Syria:
1. Humanitarian activities in-country
- Some agencies have budgeted to support continued operations in and around Syria in 2012 and some donors have pledged support for humanitarian activities (e.g. the United Kingdom has pledged UK£2 million to “three established humanitarian agencies” (DFID, 17 February 2012) but in-country operations are currently restricted due to lack of access.
- The only funding reported to UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking System (FTS) specifically to address the crisis in Syria so far in 2012 is US$645,995 from Germany to the ICRC
- In 2011, UN OCHA FTS reported expenditure of US$11.8 million on humanitarian operations in Syria, from eight main donors. The three largest donors were: the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), US$3.3 million; Australia, US$3.2 million; and Switzerland just over US$3 million. Just over half of this was provided through the ICRC and World Food Programme (WFP).
- The ICRC budget for Syria in 2012 is CHF12 million – nearly three times higher than in 2011 – some of which will focus on assisting civilians in the current crisis and some of which will assist refugee populations (see below and also ICRC overview of operations).
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