During my tenure in Syria, my main focus was strengthening the relationship between the American and Syrian people. During this difficult, violent, and dangerous time in Syria's history, the American people are proud to support your transition to democracy, an ongoing process which we began a mere 236 years ago.
Through the U.S. government, they have also provided over $52 million to humanitarian assistance efforts for Syrian people suffering from the ongoing violence inside Syria and for those who have fled the violence and are now in neighboring countries. I know that this assistance does not meet all the needs for those who are suffering, but we will continue to provide assistance throughout this difficult period to as many Syrians in need as possible.
Here is the breakdown of the humanitarian aid:
- $16.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP);
- $14.9 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
- $8.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);
- $8 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC);
- $3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA);
- $750,000 to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and
- $500,000 to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
This assistance from the American people has paid for medical services and supplies, food and water, blankets and heaters, and basic hygiene kits. Receipt of this aid is based on need, not political affiliation. The dedicated work teams responsible for distributing these goods and services have only paused in their mission when security issues have hampered their passage.
International organizations have identified approximately 300,000 internally displaced Syrians including 45,000 in Homs, 15,000 in Hama, and 14,500 in Iblid and rural Damascus. Additionally, the UNHCR believes that over 76,500 Syrians have fled Syria for neighboring countries. We are working to provide as much assistance as possible to those with the deepest need.
Here is a breakdown of what we and our partners are providing and where:
- Inside of Syria we are paying for critical medical services and supplies, food, water, blankets, hygiene kits, and household items to the Syrian people targeting more than 400,000 people.
- In Turkey, UNHCR has provided 3,100 family tents and 23,880 blankets in support of the Turkish government's humanitarian response to the displaced Syrians in Turkey; UNHCR preparations are underway to provide an additional 2,000 family tents, 10,000 blankets, and 2,000 kitchen sets.
- In Lebanon, our partners have distributed 17,000 core relief items, more than 15,500 food kits, and more than 13,000 hygiene kits in north Lebanon.
- In Jordan, mobile medical units are also free of charge and travel to newly arrived Syrian populations in need. Almost 400 individuals have received non-food items, such as blankets, mattresses, cooking sets and other items. WFP distributed food rations through partners to 12,615 Syrians who are living in host communities. Additionally, WFP provided more than 30,315 hot meals in transit centers since April 19, 2012.
- In Iraq, Domiz camp comprised 254 family tents and 35 tents for single individuals. Water and septic tanks have been installed and connected. The construction of 125 individual cooking areas has just started in the families' section. UNHCR has installed three playgrounds while a partner organization has also installed a tent for child-related activities.
Finally, consistent with longstanding U.S. government efforts to support the peaceful opposition in Syria, we are also providing non-lethal aid, including communication equipment, to peaceful democracy activists. The United States will continue to coordinate our efforts with the international community in order to increase pressure on the regime and have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing.
Editor's Note: This entry appeared first on the U.S. Embassy Syria Facebook page.