Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Thursday announced more than $239 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria while in Turkey at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Syria.
“Today, I’m proud to announce the United States is providing nearly $240 million in additional humanitarian funding for the people of Syria and for the communities that host them,” Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said. After 10 years of conflict under the brutal Assad regime, the Syrian people are the worst off they have ever been. Right now, more than 13 million Syrian people are in dire need of assistance. That’s the population of Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. combined. And if everyone in those cities were desperate for food, water, medicine, and shelter, what would we do?”
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the new funding is expected to provide critical aid to families in need in Syria, Syrian refugees, and host communities in neighboring countries.
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The US government said the funding will support humanitarian partners providing life-saving assistance, including food for displaced families in Syria and the region, and support bakeries in Syria to provide bread to people in need,” the US government said in a statement.
The assistance will also “provide psychosocial support and other protection services for children affected by conflict, help repair and rehabilitate water and sanitation systems to protect against COVID-19, deliver critical relief supplies, and support cash and vouchers to help Syrians meet basic needs.”
The government added that the United States continues to be the world’s largest donor to the Syria crisis response, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the decade-long conflict.
“Each month, U.S. humanitarian assistance through USAID and the State Department reaches nearly five million Syrians throughout all 14 governorates in Syria and more than a million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. Partners must be able to deliver lifesaving aid using whatever pathway is safest and quickest, including across international borders.
“The UN Security Council must reauthorize the UN’s cross-border access at Bab al-Hawa and reinstate other UN border crossings before the current authorization expires in July. Bab al-Hawa is the sole remaining UN crossing and a vital lifeline for the UN to ensure it can deliver life-saving aid to Syrians. Each month about 1,000 trucks carrying aid for millions of people in northwest Syria cross through Bab al-Hawa.
“There is no viable alternative to UN cross-border assistance to meet the scope and scale of aid required in Syria, where humanitarian needs are the highest levels ever seen, stemming from a decade of conflict and compounded by COVID-19 and an escalating economic crisis,” the government added.