Today, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford; Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard; and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, Nancy Lindborg traveled to Ankara, Turkey to address the humanitarian situation in and around Syria. Ambassador Ford said:
“…We’ve had a busy couple of days. Yesterday, we were at the Syrian refugee camp of Islahiye down on the Turkish-Syrian border. We met a lot of people and heard stories of their suffering, of losing family members, houses destroyed. We talked about what we are doing, providing tents, providing food both to people in camps like the one we saw, but also inside Syria. Today, we were in the Turkish capital of Ankara where we met with Turkish officials and also with leaders from the Syrian Opposition Coalition to talk about how we can all work together to help get more aid to address this spiraling refugee crisis. The delegation goes on tomorrow to Jordan. There are 180,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, the number is climbing there too. And then we go on from Jordan to Kuwait where we can put all this together and try to get the international community to develop more resources to address this Syrian refugee crisis.”
While in Ankara, Assistant Nancy Lindborg announced that the United States is providing an additional $10 million in humanitarian assistance in response to urgent needs resulting from the brutal conflict in Syria. This new funding will supply enough flour to bakeries in Aleppo to provide daily bread for approximately 210,000 people in need for the next five months. With this new assistance, the United States is providing $220 million to date to help those suffering inside Syria and refugees in the neighboring countries.
With this additional $10 million, the United States is taking action in response to heightened flour shortages, an alarming lack of bread, and rising hunger. Many bakeries have had to close down because the Assad regime has cut off flour and fuel. The United States recognizes bread as a mainstay of Syrian daily life, and this new program is focused on getting 50 bakeries back up and running to provide life-saving food to the Syrian people.
This latest assistance is part of an additional, significant funding package that the United States plans to announce at the United Nations high-level donors conference in Kuwait on January 30.
Related Entry: Helping the Syrian People in Difficult Circumstances
Cross posted from DipNote, the official blog of the U.S. Department of State