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Canada is contributing $50-million in foreign-aid funding to international organizations in support of humanitarian efforts in the Middle East and in response to the Syrian crisis, which is approaching its eighth anniversary.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pamela Goldsmith-Jones made the announcement on Thursday at a conference in Belgium called Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, which is hosted by the European Union and the United Nations.

“Canada is taking action to support the millions of people affected by the conflict in Syria who still require urgent help, many of whom are struggling to meet their basic needs,” Ms. Goldsmith-Jones said in a statement.

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“This funding will provide some much-needed relief to those most severely affected by this tragedy – especially women and children, who are bearing the brunt of this crisis.”

Ms. Goldsmith-Jones’s announcement is part of Canada’s Middle East strategy, which is a $2.1-billion commitment toward security, stabilization and humanitarian assistance in the region over the course of three years.

The funding comes just one day after the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) made a plea for sustained support for Syrians and the region, warning that the Syrian crisis is not over and is about to enter its ninth year.

The urgent needs inside Syria are at “record levels,” according to the UN refugee body, which said 11.7 million people inside Syria are in need, with 6.2 million Syrians internally displaced and with more than two million children out of school. The conflict has caused the largest refugee crisis in the world, said the UNHCR, with over 5.6 million Syrian refugees and almost four million living in neighbouring countries.

The UN appealed to the international community for US$3.3-billion for the response inside Syria and US$5.5-billion to support refugees in neighbouring countries.

Global Affairs Canada said Canada will provide $50.35-million to United Nations agencies such as the World Food Programme and the United Nations Population Fund, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, in response to the urgent needs of those impacted by the crisis in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

The money will be used to help people affected by the Syrian crisis with basic needs, food, protection and health services, water, sanitation and hygiene. The money will also be used to help women and girls through protection services and sexual and reproductive health services.

Canada will give humanitarian partners in Syria $27-million, in Lebanon $12-million, groups in Jordan will receive $7.5-million and $3.785-million will go to partners in Iraq. It will also provide $65,000 in funding to the Norwegian Refugee Council in Jordan and Lebanon.

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