Australian Embassy
Lebanon

MFASHBCSY_EN

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

August 5, 2012

ASSISTANCE FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia would increase its assistance for Syria, with a further $4 million for food, blankets and medical treatment for the more than 145,000 refugees now in camps in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

Speaking from the Za’atri refugee camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border, Senator Carr said Syria's humanitarian crisis had again escalated, with more than one million civilians homeless, and more than 10,000 killed.

“This is a humanitarian disaster,” Senator Carr said.

"Australia has taken a lead in calling for a unified international response to end the bloodshed.

"And we’re also helping with medical supplies, food and shelter. This additional funding is a step forward in helping the thousands of Syrian civilians caught up in the struggle against the Assad regime.”

Senator Carr said the additional $4 million in aid would bring Australia's total contribution to Syria to $20.5 million, making Australia the world’s fourth-largest national contributor to the refugee crisis.

The additional funds would provide food and shelter in the newly constructed refugee camps, as well as basic health checks and medical care.

It builds on existing Australian assistance of food and health care for nearly 500,000 people, delivery of water and sanitation services and the medical evacuation of 500 seriously wounded civilians to Lebanon.

Senator Carr said the refugee crisis was also placing severe burdens on water, food and medical services in those countries receiving refugees.

Senator Carr said he urged the international community to renew its efforts to assist Syria's neighbouring countries in providing basic food and health care for Syrian refugees.