The UK will help thousands of Syrian children access quality education and create jobs for Syrian refugees forced to flee their homes to neighbouring Lebanon, Minister for the Middle East Dr Andrew Murrison announced today (11 October 2019).
During a visit to Lebanon, Dr Murrison met some of the 7,000 Syrian and Lebanese children set to benefit from this UK aid allocation of £2 million.
Nearly half of the children who have fled conflict in Syria risk being denied an education because they have missed too many days of school or there are not enough school places for them. Today’s announcement takes the total number of child refugees being supported by UK aid in Lebanon to over 300,000.
Today’s UK support will also help to improve the conditions needed to create new businesses and jobs in areas hosting large numbers of refugees. This includes improving vital infrastructure, such as the redevelopment of market spaces, which is central to businesses successfully trading in local communities and boosting incomes. Over one million people will be helped to support themselves and their families.
Dr Murrison was also able to discuss the situation in Northeast Syria with key international agencies working in Syria and Lebanon. He expressed the UK’s serious concerns about Turkey’s military incursion and the potential humanitarian consequences of the situation, and reaffirmed that the UK is ready to respond.
The UK continues to be a leading donor to the humanitarian response inside Syria, including the Northeast region, to which we have allocated £40 million this year. This will go to those who need it most, and will provide vital medicine and shelter, including helping those caught up in the current ongoing conflict. But we will not support plans for returns until the conditions are in place for a safe and voluntary return home.
Speaking during his visit to Lebanon, Minister for the Middle East, Dr Andrew Murrison, said:
I have seen first-hand that UK aid is providing a vital education lifeline for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian children that have been forced to flee the brutal conflict in Syria. Too many children have had their childhoods stolen away from them by the war and we will not allow their future to be lost.
That is why UK aid is helping vulnerable Syrian refugees to get access to education and jobs that they deserve to give them hope for the future.
The only way of ending this misery, including for those still trapped in Syria, is through a negotiated political settlement which ensures the safety of those who wish to return home voluntarily. The Syrian regime must engage seriously and constructively in the new Constitutional Committee as a first step in this direction.
Whilst on the visit, Dr Murrison spoke directly to Syrian families living in extremely challenging conditions, who are receiving UK aid to meet their most urgent survival needs. He also visited a trading area in Tripoli where UK aid has helped restore the roof of a souk, and refurbish shops so they can open for business.
Across Lebanon, UK aid is boosting the local economy. In Mount Lebanon, where there are high numbers of Syrian refugees, UK support has helped to transform the fishing port of Jiyeh. UK aid has redesigned the port, creating space for more boats, establishing a market space and providing fishing equipment, like fishnets and fish finding technology for fishermen, benefiting over 300,000 people.
UK aid support in Lebanon has also already helped to provide:
- access to clean water and sanitation for 471,000 people;
- a decent education for around 322,000 children;
- and nutrition for 9,000 children under 5, women and adolescent girls.
To date, the UK has committed £2.81 billion in response to the Syria Crisis, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis. Since 2012, across Syria and the region, we have provided over 28 million food rations, over 17 million medical consultations, and over 12 million vaccines. Our aid provides life-saving support to millions of Syrians.
Dr Murrison met with President Michel Aoun, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, MPs and senior business leaders to discuss the important relationship between the two countries. He thanked Lebanon for the essential role it has played throughout the conflict, ensuring that Syria’s instability does not spread through the wider region.
- Today’s announcements of UK aid for Lebanon are allocations from funds that the UK pledged at the Syria Conference 2019 in Brussels. The UK’s Department for International Development will provide:
- £31 million to the Lebanon Municipal Services Programme 3 (LHSP3) to support communities hosting refugees – this will run for three years from 2019 to 2020.
- £2 million to the No Lost Generation Initiative to provide education to Syrian children, taking total UK support to the Initiative in Lebanon to £67 million.
- Free-to-use photographs from Dr Murrison’s visit are available here. Any usage must be credited to: ‘HM Government’