Oxfam forced to cut aid to desperate Syrian families as UN launches revised appeal

Foreign aid, General, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 04 Jul 2014

Oxfam has been forced to cut essential assistance to over 6,500 vulnerable Syrian refugee families living in Jordan and warns that millions more face an uncertain future with aid agencies unable to adequately respond due to government donor fatigue.

Speaking ahead of the UN’s launch of its reviewed aid appeal for the Syria crisis, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Advocacy Lead Stephanie Cousins said that the gap between need and humanitarian assistance was widening at an alarming rate.

“Refugees are living in a state of emergency, unable to afford high rent and food costs. With a staggering 2.8 million Syrian refugees displaced and the United Nations predicting 1.5 million more by the end of the year, we need an outpouring of funds to prevent cuts in lifesaving support,” Ms Cousins said.

“Oxfam has already had to cut monthly payments to more than 6,500 people in Jordan due to dwindling funds. We’ve been providing up to $260 per month to the poorest Syrian refugee families and now this lifeline, which many families use to repay debts or keep children in school, has to stop.

Atrocities continue unabated in Syria with more and more people fleeing their homes to countries like Jordan and Lebanon every day. But the UN’s 2014 global appeal for US$6.5bn for Syria is currently only 30 percent funded. The revised figure for the appeal is expected to be announced at the weekend.

Oxfam is ramping up efforts to raise funds to address this escalating crisis, and calling on the Australian Government to increase assistance as well.  

“We’re asking Australians to donate generously to our Syria Crisis Appeal, which we will use to provide life-saving assistance to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon as well as women, men, and children still in Syria”.

“We’re also asking the Australian Government to contribute an additional $70 million this year in humanitarian aid through UN agencies, NGOs and others working to provide life-saving assistance to the Syrian people.

“This is Australia’s fair share of the UN’s global appeal for Syria, commensurate with the scale of need and the size Australia’s economy”.

Since the war in Syria started Oxfam has provided vital assistance to nearly 1.4 million people, including emergency water and sanitation services and assistance to buy essential items such as blankets and food.

For interviews or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or angush@oxfam.org.au