EU steps up aid for Syrian refugees and host communities

Syrian refugee in Lebanon. The European Commission has adopted a new measure that will help provide for the medium and long-term needs of Syrian refugees, days after Kristalina Georgieva visited camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Photo by: D. Khamissy / UNHCR / CC BY-SA

The European Commission has adopted a new measure that will help provide for the medium and long-term needs of Syrian refugees, days after Kristalina Georgieva visited camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

The special measure, worth €20.85 million ($27.5 million), will help provide vocational training and livelihood development to Syrians currently taking refuge in the two countries. In Lebanon, for example, women will receive skills training and grants they can use to set up a small business.

The money will provide Syrian children and those from host communities access to basic education, psychosocial support and other related services as well. The measure aims to prevent tension between refugees and their host communities by making services available to both parties.

The 22-monthlong Syrian crisis has placed a burden on neighboring countries. Host communities are already stretched in resources as refugee numbers continue to increase. At one point, Lebanon suspended treatment for wounded Syrians after costs rose to more than a million dollars.

“[Syrian refugee] numbers have risen to more than half a million and I have no doubt that within a few months, unless the conflict ends, thatfigure will double,” EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

Activities will be carried out by the European Union’s implementing partners in Jordan and Lebanon, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and UNICEF. A total of €10.85 million will go to Jordan, and €10 million to Lebanon. The European Union is also discussing with the Lebanese government and U.N. agencies potential additional funding in 2013.

The announcement follows the European Commission’s decision to allocate some €2 million to children affected by fighting in conflict countries. Part of that funding is meant for Syrian children in a refugee camp in Iraq. It also comes a day after UNHCR and its partners issued a $1.5 billion appeal for two Syria response plans.

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About the author

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    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.