Australians raise more than $16M for Syrian refugees
Australia for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner announced that donations from everyday Australians have raised $16.6 million to support UNHCR’s efforts in alleviating the plight of Syrian refugees. The recognition comes as the ongoing conflict and mass displacement in Syria approaches its 10th anniversary.
Over 13 million Syrians are still in desperate need of assistance, with 6.7 million registered Syrian refugees living in over 130 countries across the world – the majority in Syria’s neighbouring countries. Almost half of displaced Syrians are under the age of 18.
A further 6.7 million Syrians remain internally displaced, some experiencing displacement a third or fourth time in the past decade as conflict and violence moves around the country.
Turkey remains the main host country for Syrian refugees worldwide (3.645 million registered). Major host countries in the Middle East and North Africa include Lebanon (865,000), Jordan (664,000), Iraq 242,000) and Egypt (131,000).
Australia for UNHCR National Director Naomi Steer has applauded the commitment of Australian donors to providing Syrian families and children with life-saving protection and support, but stresses life for displaced Syrians is more of a struggle than ever.
“Ten years is a long time to live in danger and uncertainty, and the resilience of Syrian refugees is being stretched to breaking point – poverty is increasing, protection risks are becoming more acute, and any gains in self-reliance are being lost due to the social and economic costs of the pandemic,” she said.
“Australian donors have played an important role in providing Syrian refugees hope for the future, and access to education, legal help and medical care – however this could well be the most difficult year for Syrian refugees to date, with many losing their livelihoods early in the crisis. Ongoing humanitarian assistance is important now just as much as ever,” she said.