Press release 160/2013
2 August 2013
By decision of Minister for International Development, Heidi Hautala, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted an additional one million euros in humanitarian assistance to the victims of the Syrian crisis.
Half of this aid will be channelled via the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF and the other half via the World Health Organization WHO.
With the Syrian crisis now entering its third year, the country’s health care system has been severely affected. WHO estimates are that 60% of Syria’s public hospitals have been closed. The main aim of WHO humanitarian operations in Syria is to reduce mortality and morbidity. Last year Finland granted 400,000 euros to support WHO operations in Syria.
Within Syria, the crisis has affected more than 3.1 million children. In all the number of registered refugee children and children awaiting registration in the region is almost 950,000. In the summer UNICEF’s humanitarian aid actions focus on water and sanitation programmes and on children’s vaccination campaigns in order to prevent epidemics. Other areas of continuing priority include child protection and the provision of education for children who have had to drop out of school. Finland has previously granted 1.5 million euros to support UNICEF operations in Syria and surrounding regions.
In 2011–2013, prior to the aid now granted, Finland has provided 11.1 million euros in humanitarian assistance for the Syrian crisis. This assistance has been made available both to people in need of help within the country and to refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries. Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala travelled to Israel, occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan on 24–27 June. This visit provided an opportunity to gain an overview of Finnish development cooperation in the occupied Palestinian territories and Finnish humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.
Additional information: Senior Officer Anu Ala-Rantala, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, tel. +358 295 351 305, +358 50 436 731, Counsellor Kaisa Heikkilä, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, tel. +358 295 350 546, +358 40 352 0739