Minister Schreinemacher: €10 million for emergency aid in Syria

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher has released €10 million for emergency aid to the victims of the earthquakes in northwestern Syria. Of this amount, €7 million will go to United Nations funds to provide affected people with tents, blankets, food and water. The other €3 million will be allocated through Dutch aid organisations.

This was announced by the minister on Wednesday. This amount is independent from the deployment of the Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR), which is working in southeastern Türkiye. The costs of this operation will largely be covered by the emergency aid budget for foreign trade and development cooperation.

Getting help to people in need is complicated by the war in Syria. The staff of aid organisations and storage facilities for relief goods have also been heavily impacted by the earthquakes. A further complication is the fact that neither the Netherlands nor the EU maintains diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime.

‘But we can’t allow this to prevent us from helping the Syrian people,’ said Ms Schreinemacher. ‘The civil war has been going on for 12 years, and it has destroyed so much and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In the affected area there are many displaced Syrians who have previously had to flee the violence. It is awful to think that they are being hit hard yet again, this time by devastating earthquakes. For them, it’s one disaster on top of another.’

In order to swiftly deliver humanitarian aid to the victims, the financial contribution referred to above will go to the Syria Humanitarian Fund and the Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund, both of which fall under the UN. They support local organisations active in the affected areas. Since the start of the conflict, the Netherlands has provided humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. That aid is channelled through UN organisations, the International Red Cross and the Dutch aid organisations that are united within the Dutch Relief Alliance.

The Netherlands is also contributing through other channels to the aid efforts following the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. This week, the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) announced that it would be releasing $25 million for aid to the region. The Netherlands contributes €55 million to this fund annually. UN organisations and the International Red Cross are currently providing aid in Türkiye and Syria. They can do this thanks in part to multi-year, unearmarked support from the Netherlands. This allows them to operate rapidly and flexibly wherever the need is greatest.