Australia’s $10 million falls short of Syria needs

The Government’s latest pledge of $10 million in humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis falls short of Australia’s capacity to help meet the immense needs facing the region, World Vision said today.

Nearly half of Syria’s population, some 9.3 million people, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

World Vision Australia’s chief executive, Tim Costello, said that the size of the current global appeal reflects the enormous scale of the humanitarian needs in Syria and neighbouring countries. The United Nations yesterday sought US $6.5 billion from world leaders in the largest appeal in human history. 

“While we welcome the Australian Government’s continued support for those affected by the crisis in Syria, the latest pledge of $10 million falls well short of what could be expected to give in light of the size of the appeal and Australia’s resources relative to other donors,” Mr Costello said.

Mr Costello said that the response from the international community overall has been disappointing with only US $2.4 billion committed at this week’s Kuwait donor conference. 

Other key western donor nations pledged more significant amounts at the Second International Syria Pledging Conference in Kuwait City. The United States announced US $380 million and the United Kingdom pledged more than US $160 million.

As the Syrian conflict nears its fourth year, the situation for families affected by the conflict is becoming dire, particularly for children. More than 4.3 million children remain displaced within Syria, while more than 1.2 million have fled into neighbouring countries.

“We call on the Australian Government to give more to the crisis as millions of Syrians and host communities are feeling the ongoing impacts of the conflict; it is a daily struggle to survive,” Mr Costello said.

Many children are not in school and have to work to help pay for the basics of life. Children are vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation due to poverty and protracted displacement. Urgent assistance is desperately needed to ensure we don't lose a generation of children.

To donate to the Syrian Refugee Crisis Response call 13 32 40 or go to www.worldvision.com.au 

Media contact: Gabrielle Brophy, 0407 575 112 or gabrielle.brophy@worldvision.com.au

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