Turnbull Government Donates $25 Million In Aid To Refugees In Syria And Iraq

04/02/2016 7:23 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
ALEPPO, SYRIA - JANUARY 31: Turkmen children carry wait for food distribution at al-Ra'ee camp, southern Aleppo in Syria on January 31, 2016. Turkmen who fled their homes following attacks by Syrian and Russian forces, live under harsh conditions at al-Ra'ee camp. (Photo by Mustafa Sultan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The federal government has announced it will provide a further $25 million in funding towards aid in Syria and Iraq as the refugee crisis continues to take a toll on the region.

The funding will be drawn out of Australia's emergency relief fund, which is usually provided to disaster-stricken areas in the Indo-Pacific region.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the funding at the Syria Donors Conference in London on Thursday. It brings Australia's total assistance to Iraq and Syria to $258 million since 2011.

On Tuesday, Bishop met with a small group of foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Syria and how they can combat the Islamic State.

John Kerry likened the scenes in Syria to the aftermath of World War II, and said the situation in Syria was getting worse, not better.

In a media release on Thursday Minister Bishop said the latest additional aid funding from Australia "will support civilians affected by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis."

"In Syria, 13.5 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance. A further 4.6 million Syrians are refugees in neighbouring countries. An estimated 10 million people in Iraq also require urgent humanitarian support this year."

The federal government will also deploy ten Australian Civilian Corps specialists to help protect Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, working with UN and NGO partners who provide water, camps and education to those in need.

Of the $25 million in new funds, $20 million will go to Syrian aid partners and other aid groups working in the region including UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR and Australian NGOs.

Iraq will receive the remaining $5 million, including $2 million provided to the United Nations Development Programme.

The extra funding comes after the government's foreign aid funding was cut by $1 billion in the 2015 budget and a huge $7.6 billion was cut -- over five years -- in the 2014 budget.

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