Obama pledges more humanitarian aid for Syrians, refugees

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:58am BST

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama announced more than $300 million in new humanitarian aid on Monday to address the Syrian crisis and to help neighbouring countries cope with the 1.6 million refugees who have fled the civil war.

Obama announced the aid for food, medical equipment, water and shelter during a dinner with leaders of the G8 nations, which spent time addressing how best to end the two-year civil war.

The United States is also giving the Syrian opposition new military aid - a topic of controversy at the G8 summit - but has not disclosed what type of assistance it will provide.

The White House said more than $128 million would be spent on new humanitarian aid inside Syria to buy emergency medical supplies, clothing and shelter, and American wheat for flour.

More than $72 million will go to food vouchers and other aid for Lebanon, where more than 80,000 refugees are expected by December, many going to Palestinian refugee camps that were overcrowded to begin with, the White House said.

Another $45 million will go to Jordan to help feed 192,000 refugees, and more than $24 million to Iraq to help build and supply camps.

Turkey will receive more than $22 million for items like refugee tents, blankets, kitchen equipment and counselling for children displaced by the war. Egypt will receive more than $6 million in aid.

The United States has been the biggest donor of humanitarian aid during the two-year civil war in Syria, donating more than $800 million in total.

World Vision, an aid group working in Syria and neighbouring countries, said the money would help.

"The world has so far failed to keep up with the basic needs of people impacted by the conflict," said Nathaniel Hurd, a policy advisor with the group, urging other donor countries to follow suit.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Lisa Shumaker)

FILED UNDER: