Press Release 143/2013
20 June 2013
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, by decision of Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala on 19 June, has granted a total of four million euros in humanitarian assistance to the Syrian crisis and the Sahel region.
The humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria continues to be severe. Approximately 6.8 million people, about half of them children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. The number of refugees has reached about 1.64 million and about 4.25 million people are internally displaced.
On 7 June 2013 the UN issued appeals for Syria and the region totalling 4.4 billion dollars for the year 2013. This is the largest single request for assistance in the history of the United Nations. Also, the International Committee of the Red Cross revised the size of its appeal considerably in May.
In line with the decision now taken, a total of 3 million euros will be targeted to assist those suffering from the Syrian crisis. Of this sum, 1 million euros will be channelled through the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one million euros through the World Food Programme (WFP), 500,000 euros will go to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and 500,000 euros through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In the last two years, Finland has granted a total of 8.1 million euros in humanitarian assistance for the Syrian crisis.
The Syrian crisis is also linked to decision taken by the Minister for International Development at the end of May to move forward the granting of additional support to the General Fund of the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA . The additional 1.5 million euros in support is in response to the organisation’s difficult financial situation, which is further tightened by the increased need for help by Palestinian refugees in Syria and fleeing from the country.
By virtue of the decision now taken, Finland grants 1 million euros in humanitarian aid to the Sahel region. During the last ten years the region has experienced recurrent food and nutrition crises, the impact of which is worsened by the outbreak of an armed conflict in Mali last year.
According to the decision, 1 million euros will be directed to the emergency relief operations of FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in the Sahel region, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
FAO works to promote food security and to facilitate the recovery of livelihood for those in need of assistance in the crises. Aside from emergency relief, FAO’s operations support the development of communities’ coping capacities in the longer term.
Earlier this year Finland granted a total of 8.5 million euros in humanitarian assistance for the Sahel region and the crisis in Mali.
Additional information: Anna Gebremedhin, Head of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 583 0149 or +358 295 351 038, and Counsellor Kaisa Heikkilä, mobile tel. +358 40 352 0739 or tai +358 295 350 546