Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has announced an additional 18 million dollars in humanitarian aid for Iraq and Syria in coming months.
She said on Thursday in Canberra during a meeting with the donor agencies that the aid would be distributed between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Children’s Fund, World Food Programme and Australian NGOs working in the region.
Bishop said the government and the opposition felt compelled to assist those suffering through the “world’s worst” humanitarian crisis.
She expressed the hope that the assistance would help Syrian refugees and their host communities in the region access vital resources such as food, shelter and protection.
“This increased contribution will support civilians affected by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
Bishop said available data showed that in Syria, 13.5 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.
“A further 4.6 million Syrians are refugees in neighbouring countries.
“An estimated 10 million people in Iraq also require urgent humanitarian support this year,’’ she said.
The minister said in addition to the increased humanitarian funding, government would also deploy 10 Australian Civilian Corps specialists to Lebanon and Jordan to assist UN and NGO partners.
She said corps would assist in delivering education, water, sanitation, camp infrastructure, logistics and protection to Syrian refugees.
Bishop said a small proportion of the aid money would be given to the UN agencies in Iraq, as they continue to help communities destroyed by Islamic State.
The minister added that Australian government would also provide an additional 3.5 million dollars for Iraq, including 1.4 million dollars to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to help stabilise areas of the country liberated from Islamic State.
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