Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will be announcing an extra $25 million in aid for Syria and Iraq at the Syria Donors Conference in London on Thursday. She is also expected to announce the deployment of 10 Civilian Corps specialists to Jordan and Lebanon alongside the boost.
The Civilian Corps specialists will work in different fields including education, water, sanitation, protection and logistics projects in the region to address long-term development needs.
Bishop will be saying in a speech, to be delivered at the conference, that Australia’s response in terms of aid to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq was one of the largest. She will say that the international community has an obligation towards the millions affected by the long-standing civil war and at the same time support peace negotiations and help release the pressure from countries hosting refugees, such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
The Syria Donors Conference has become a forum that discusses ways to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
At another meeting in Rome on Tuesday, attended by foreign ministers of countries fighting against the Islamic State including Syria, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said that the humanitarian crisis is Syria is becoming worse by the day. He added that more than 13 million Syrians are in urgent need of aids, of whom six million are children. A large number of people are trapped in places where food is rarely delivered.
“We are not talking about remote areas miles out in the desert – the town of Madaya is one hour’s drive from Damascus, yet in recent months its people have been reduced to eating grass and leaves,” the Stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.
Bishop’s speech at the conference will refer to Australia’s contribution to the humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria, which has totalled to $400 million since 2011, Skynews reported. This financial year, the cost of Australia’s military contribution in the fight against ISIS will reach the $400 million mark while the resettlement of 12,000 Syrian refugees is estimated to cost around $830 million over the next four years.