Europe extends humanitarian hand to Syrians

Dec. 18, 2013 at 9:35 AM
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BRUSSELS, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The European Commission said Wednesday it was signing more than $200 million worth of contracts with U.N. agencies to help those affected by the Syrian crisis.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement the ongoing civil war in Syria has created an uncertain future for an entire generation of Syrians.

"It is right that we stand up for the victims of this catastrophe, which is why I am proud that today we are signing some of the largest humanitarian contracts ever concluded with trusted humanitarian partners," he said in a statement. "I urge the international community to follow suit and replicate our gesture of solidarity."

The U.N. refugee agency receives $86.9 million to help address the needs of those in Syria and refugees that fled to neighboring Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

The World Food Program received $83.9 million for food assistance and UNICEF gets $31.6 million for water and sanitation purposes.

The United Nations estimates 9.3 million people are affected by the violence in Syria. At least 6.5 million Syrians are displaced internally by war.

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