Britain pledges £8m more aid for Syria war victims


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Britain today announced a further £8 million in humanitarian support to assist millions of people caught up in the Syrian civil war.

The announcement came as Prime Minister David Cameron issued a call at the United Nations General Assembly in New York for other members of the international community to do more to help victims of the violence.

Some £3 million of British aid will go to UN children's agency Unicef to provide funding for clean water, sanitation and education for around 500,000 Syrian refugees.

British help will provide trauma support for 28,000 children, help train 125 frontline workers who will work directly with vulnerable children and create a number of safe areas designed for children and their families.

A further £5 million, channelled through the UN's central response plan, will go towards essential supplies for people inside Syria to help them cope with the coming winter.

It should provide items such as shoes and winter clothing for children and babies, as well as blankets, heaters, cookers and emergency shelters to help an estimated 1.2 million people inside Syria forced to leave their homes because of the conflict.

Speaking from New York, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: "Britain has played a leading role amongst the 33 countries directly supporting the people of Syria.

"Children are particularly vulnerable in a conflict, but too often their needs are forgotten. As well as providing immediate help with clean water, food and medical aid, this new support will enable them to come to terms with seeing things no child should have to experience.

"In the next few months, temperatures will start to plummet across much of the region, bringing heavy rains and possibly snow. This could make it more difficult to transport supplies and get immediate help to refugees as they cross the border. The UK Government has led the way in the humanitarian effort, but it's vital the wider international community also steps up and plays its part."

The UK was one of the first to respond to appeals for help with the humanitarian crisis in Syria and is now the second largest bi-lateral donor of international humanitarian aid. The £8 million in new funding announced today brings total UK support to date to £38.5 million.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday defended Britain's pledge to devote 0.7 per cent of national income to international aid, dismissing arguments from inside his own party that this is not affordable at a time of economic downturn.