Belgium pledges extra 10m euros in aid for Syrian people
Belgium is allocating 10 million euros for additional support to people in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries, Development minister Caroline Gennez announced on Thursday at a European donor conference.
Brussels is hosting the seventh EU conference for Syria, which aims to mobilise humanitarian and financial support for the Syrian people at home and in the region.
“After more than 10 years of war and a devastating earthquake, almost nothing is still standing,” Gennez said of the situation in Syria. “15.5 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid, half of them women and children. There is not enough food, not enough water, and there are hardly any houses left that are habitable.”
"An entire generation of young people barely has access to education due to insecurity and destruction of schools"
At the same time, humanitarian aid is decreasing. Belgium is now providing an additional 10 million euros, on top of its annual humanitarian contribution to the region of 27.5 million. Most of the aid will go to the United Nations emergency humanitarian fund for Syria and to international and local NGOs that have been working in the region for years.
“Syrian children in particular are suffering,” Gennez said. “More than 600,000 children are chronically malnourished. An entire generation of young people barely has access to education due to insecurity and destruction of schools.”
The money will provide basic needs such as food, water, hygiene, shelter and medical care. It will also support the millions of refugees in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, which have their own political and economic troubles.
“Political and social pressure to return, or simply leave, is increasing,” said Gennez. “Without international support, a repeat of the 2015 scenario – a mass exodus of Syrian refugees – becomes very likely.”
Syrian children at a refugee camp in eastern Lebanon © ANWAR AMRO / AFP