Syria humanitarian response
The Syria conflict remains one of the biggest humanitarian, peace and security crises facing the world today. As at March 2020, the UN estimates 11.1 million people in Syria were in need of humanitarian assistance, including 4.7 million in acute need. Over half the population has been forced from their homes; and over 7 million people have fled the violence in Syria to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
The COVID-19 outbreak has compounded the already significant humanitarian, economic and governance challenges across the Middle East. This is particularly the case in Lebanon and Jordan, which host large numbers of Syrian refugees. With 93 per cent of Syrian refugees residing within host communities in urban areas, local resources, infrastructure and services are already under severe strain.
In 2016, the Australian Government announced $220 million over three years (2016-2019) to respond to the Syria crisis. The package was extended for one year by $29 million in the 2019-2020 financial year. Australia has provided a total of $462 million in response to the Syria crisis since 2011. The package includes humanitarian assistance for Syria and its neighbours, as well as longer-term resilience support for Jordan and Lebanon focused on improving education and livelihoods opportunities for refugees and their host communities.
Australia's aid contribution in response to the Syria crisis has been delivered through UN agencies, international humanitarian organisations and Australian NGOs to reach people in need across the region. Our delivery partners have successfully pivoted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and now successfully support the health security and stability pillars of our COVID-19 Strategy Partnerships for Recovery.
Australian humanitarian funding, in response to the Syria crisis, supports our national interests in the Middle East, including by promoting security and stability in the region.