Germany will donate more than 1 billion euros ($ 1.18 billion) in humanitarian aid to Syria, said Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Monday, ahead of a donor conference in Brussels designed to expand humanitarian efforts towards war-torn countries as well as refugee-receiving countries.
According to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, the German Federal Government, which guaranteed 1.6 billion euros at last year’s conference, plans to provide the same amount this year as well.
The article also stated that the German Foreign Ministry plans to continue to lend a helping hand to the Syrian civil defense group White Helmets. Last year, the country contributed 5.1 million euros to the group and intends to continue with the same amount this year. Referring to the minister’s statement, the article states that the contribution to the group has been spent according to predetermined objectives agreed during regular negotiations and close coordination with the group. The ministry stated that the group had used the previous contributions according to their goals.
After 10 years of war in Syria, the international community will be asked to raise billions of dollars in new aid pledges on Monday. to fund humanitarian causes. The 5th Brussels Conference on Syria will be held via video link due to coronavirus prevention measures, but the needs of Syrian refugees and vulnerable civilians are increasingly pressing.
Promises had already come down before the Corona virus pandemic was mainly due to donor fatigue. Officials fear that with the global economic slump sparked by the pandemic, international aid to Syria will take a new hit at the exact moment it is needed most. Across Syria, the pandemic has exacerbated the worst economic crisis since the conflict began in 2011. Local currencies have fallen and food prices have soared – up 222% from last year. Nine out of 10 people live below the poverty line and in northwest Syria, nearly three-quarters of the 4.3 million population are food insecure. According to the United Nations, 13.4 million people in Syria, more than half of the country’s pre-war population, need help. That’s an increase of 20% from last year. More than 50 countries will be represented at the conference, along with 30 other organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), humanitarian agencies and international financial institutions.
Meanwhile, the head of Germany’s Catholic Caritas branch, Peter Neher, has asked for help for war-torn Syria to include support for reconstruction projects in regime-held areas.
Neher described the humanitarian situation in the country as “catastrophic,” and said the previous focus on emergency assistance should be abandoned, in comments to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) ahead of the Syrian donor conference.
“We have to allow targeted reconstruction measures, even in areas under regime control,” he said.
The European Union has so far rejected such assistance in areas controlled by the Assad regime because it does not want to support his government. This approach is only ready if there is real progress towards a political solution.
However, Neher pointed to the country’s devastated infrastructure and noted that around 2.5 million children are not attending school.
“We want to help people so they can get another roof,” he said. “We want to rebuild kindergartens, schools and health facilities.”
Targeted measures could improve people’s lives “without this being seen as a carte blanche for the regime,” added Neher.
Poverty is rising in Syria due to the 10-year civil war and the recent economic crisis.
According to UN figures, 12.4 million people – nearly 60% of the population – suffer from hunger. The number of people unable to survive without food has more than doubled this year.