The European Union announced Tuesday its largest Syrian refugee response package to date worth 350 million euros to help up to 1.5 million refugees across host countries, including Lebanon. The package of programs will be implemented in coming months to help refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq through the provision of basic education, child protection and better access to health care, improved waste-water infrastructure and community support, the EU said.
“Today’s decision is concrete evidence of EU solidarity with Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, those countries hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees who flee violence and persecutions. The war in Syria is the biggest humanitarian crisis we have been facing for decades. We have a duty to provide support to refugees and the communities that are hosting them,” said Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the vice-president of the European Commission.
Of the aid 140 million euros will finance a scale-up of support to the education ministries in host countries to enable them to enroll a further 172,000 refugee children, while providing accelerated learning programs. Another 130 million euros will focus on resilience and local development programs, including improving economic opportunities for refugees and host communities beyond humanitarian relief. Some 55 million euros will be allocated to enhance access to refugees across the region to primary, secondary and tertiaryhealth care as well as psycho-social support. Another 25 million euros will be used to set up water, sanitation and hygiene programs for Syrian refugees.
Apart from assisting host communities the aid will “help us be ready to ensure that if a cease-fire is in place, we can rapidly deliver on the ground inside Syria. A lasting solution to the refugee crisis will only be achieved through a political process leading to a transition, led by Syrian themselves, to put the country back to stability and peace. The EU will spare no effort to contribute to launch the political process, in parallel to the fight against Daesh and terrorist organizations.”
Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn added: “Europe and the countries in Syria’s neighborhood are facing the biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II, affecting all of us. Our response must be a joint one if we want to succeed.”