European Union approves USD155mn to back Syrian refugees

BEIRUT: The European Union (EU) has adopted a 130 million euros (USD 155 million) assistance package to support Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon, according to an official statement. The statement issued on Friday by the bloc's office in Lebanon said the package aims to support Syrian refugees in key areas such as social protection, healthcare services or waste management, reports BY Xinhua news.

Joseph Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that the EU will continue to do all it can to support the Syrian people, civil society, refugees and their host communities in neighboring countries.

He also noted that the EU will host the fifth Brussels Conference on "Supporting the future of Syria and the region" on March 29-30 to reaffirm international support for the UN efforts for a negotiated political solution to the Syrian conflict.

Lebanon, which remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita, currently hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, according to the UN. The funds will also help them alleviate the consequences of the Port of Beirut blasts last August, which affected both Syrian refugees and the local people.

Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Jordan has shouldered the impact of a massive influx of Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees account for more than 10 percent of Jordan's population today, placing immense pressure on the country's over-stretched resources, the World Food Program says.

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