Britain to provide extra £100 million in Syria aid

Britain to provide extra £100 million in Syria aid
2 min read
04 September, 2015
The UK will provide extra humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis and take in thousands more Syrian refugees, amid growing pressure at home and abroad to address the crisis.
The continuing loss of life from people crossing the Mediterranean forced officials to act [Getty]

Britain will provide an extra £100 million ($153 million) in humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis, bringing its total contribution to more than £1 billion, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.

"That is the UK's largest-ever response to a humanitarian crisis. No other European country has come close to this level of support," he told a news conference in Madrid.

The bulk of the extra funds, £60 million, will be used to provide aid for Syrians in Syria - while the rest will go to neighbouring nations such as Jordan and Turkey with huge numbers of Syrian refugees, he said.

Earlier on Friday, Cameron announced in Lisbon that Britain would take in "thousands" more Syrian refugees, amid growing pressure at home and abroad to address the crisis.

"We must pursue a comprehensive approach to these issues. That means using our aid budget to alleviate poverty and suffering in the countries where these people are coming from," Cameron said following his talks in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Cameron did not say how many more refugees Britain would take in - but officials have been criticised for allowing just 216 refugees from Syria into the country, as of September 1. That number, it has been pointed out, would fit on a single London Underground tube train.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, estimates that more than four million Syrians have now fled the bloodshed which broke out in March 2011, mostly to neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey - but also Egypt and Iraq.

The host countries are struggling to cope - Jordan and Lebanon have repeatedly appealed for increased aid to ease the burden.

But a UN donation drive for 2015 has so far only raised 41 percent of the target figures, forcing the World Food Programme to trim its assistance to Syrian refugees in both Lebanon and Jordan.