The European Commission said Tuesday it would release a further 50 million euros ($67 million) in humanitarian aid for Syria as the crisis there deepens.
This brings the total amount of aid this year to 150 million euros, which the EU says is aimed at helping the most vulnerable people in a conflict that has so far cost more than 170,000 lives and displaced half the population of 23 million.
The Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said it also approved proposals to increase assistance for neighbouring countries dealing with an “unprecedented flow of refugees.”
This extra 125 million euros for refugees is in addition to 75 million euros already made available under the EU’s European Neighbourhood Instrument.
The Syrian conflict amounts to the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis,” the Commission said in a statement, with some 9.3 million people inside the country and a further 2.8 million refugees “in need of vital assistance.”
Since the conflict began in March 2011, more than a million Syrians have taken refuge in tiny neighbouring Lebanon.
Others are in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq, which have all struggled with the influx of arrivals.
Meanwhile, more than 120,000 Syrians have sought asylum in Europe, crossing land borders or making risky trips across the Mediterranean.