I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 57 together.
The tragic crisis unfolding in Syria and in neighbouring countries has resulted in enormous humanitarian needs requiring an urgent response from the international community. With the number of fatalities surpassing 100,000, there are now close to 7 million people who are in need of immediate life saving support. In addition to more than 4 million people who are displaced within Syria, some 2.1 million Syrians have fled the violence to take refuge in neighbouring countries, one million of whom are children. The Government has repeatedly condemned the civil war in Syria and the violations of human rights inflicted on the Syrian people.
In line with the UN’s humanitarian response plan for Syria, it is imperative that life-saving emergency assistance is provided and essential basic services are delivered to affected people in Syria and its neighbouring countries, especially food, water, sanitation, health, shelter, education and essential non-food items. Vital public services, particularly medical facilities, affected by the crisis must be restored. The effect of this crisis on children is particularly worrying, with large numbers of children being exposed to violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.
Ireland’s total contribution to this crisis to date stands at €10.8 million, of which €8.15 million has been provided in 2013, making Ireland one of world’s most generous donors – on a per capita basis – to respond to this crisis. The total includes support to the NGOs Goal, Oxfam, Concern and the International Rescue Committee, as well as to members of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and six different UN agencies. These are partners that have a demonstrated track record of effective humanitarian response in Syria, with strong strategies for targeting and delivery of assistance and robust systems for monitoring and accountability
My officials are continuously monitoring the evolving situation in Syria and the surrounding region, and my proposed visit to Lebanon next month will provide an opportunity to review the relief effort and assess humanitarian needs on the ground. In view of the immense needs in Syria and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees, Ireland will continue to provide assistance, within our means and as the situation evolves, to the humanitarian response.