refugee camp

The New Zealand Government has announced plans to provide an additional $4.5m in funding to help refugees displaced by the ongoing fighting in Syria.

The latest funding brings New Zealand’s total humanitarian contribution to the refugee crisis in Syria and Iraq to $20m.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said: "Our humanitarian support has helped build schools in refugee camps in Turkey, delivered basic education and skills training in Jordan, provided health and education support to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and funded the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria.

"The additional funding announced today will help refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and will be delivered through partnerships with host governments, UN agencies, and New Zealand non-government organisations.

"One of the most effective ways we can help address this humanitarian crisis is by ensuring there are facilities to cater for refugees in countries neighbouring Syria and that these refugee communities are afforded adequate protection."

The move follows the government’s decision to grant asylum to 750 Syrian refugees over the next three years, which is expected to cost the country approximately $48.8m.

"The additional funding announced today will help refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan."

Around 600 asylum seekers will be accepted by way of a special emergency intake over and above the usual annual quota of 750, while the remaining 150 places will be offered within the quota.

The first 100 refugees are scheduled to arrive in three groups in January, March, and May 2016.

New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said: "This commitment will be in addition to any decisions that may come out of the standard three year review of the refugee quota which will take place in 2016 as planned."

The country, which had accepted 83 Syrians under the quota in 2014, already spends $58m on resettling refugees each year.

Image: Syrian refugee camp for displaced people of the civil war on the Turkish border. Photo: courtesy of Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell on the Turkish border.