The Netherlands pledges €3.5 million for aid to Syria

The Netherlands is earmarking €3.5 million for humanitarian aid to victims of the violence in Syria and for support to the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) of the Syrian opposition. This was announced by foreign trade and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen on Wednesday.

The humanitarian aid will be delivered by Save the Children and the Netherlands Refugee Foundation. ‘Our contribution is intended to cover primary needs such as toilets and basic midwifery kits,’ said the minister.

Through the German aid organisation GIZ, Ms Ploumen is also investing in the capacity of the Assistance Coordination Unit, which is coordinating aid in areas under the Syrian opposition’s control. The ACU cannot cope with the enormous demand for aid and will use the extra funding to increase its staff. Other donors such as Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the United States are funding accommodation and capacity building for the ACU.

€500,000 has also been earmarked to enable the Netherlands’ Special Adviser on Syria based in Turkey to respond quickly to needs that arise in Syria. ‘For instance, if emergency supplies are waiting at the border and transport costs have not yet been worked out,’ Ms Ploumen explained. ‘Or if problems suddenly arise with the drinking water supply and purification equipment is urgently needed.’

To date, the Netherlands has donated over €32.5 million in aid to the approximately 900,000 Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries and millions more within Syria itself. In addition, the Netherlands is looking for opportunities to join local NGOs in strengthening local administrations in the north, and also considering whether the water supply to this area could be restored, and if so, how to get this done as soon as possible.