How much money are countries spending on the Syrian refugee crisis?

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The ongoing Syrian refugee crisis is not only putting the onus on nations around the world to accept asylum for the millions of displaced Syrians currently seeking a new home, but it is also requiring billions of dollars in aid from some of the world’s wealthiest countries.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says they need $4.5 billion to supply aid and relocation services for the over 4 million refugees stranded without a home in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and other welcoming regions around the world.

The UNHCR has only received 37 per cent of their funding requirements for this year, totaling $1.67 billion from various states, non-governmental organizations and other organizations.

Some countries, it seems, are doing better than others when it comes to offering funds. The United States has spent over $219 million, Kuwait almost $102 million and the European Union has offered $55 million. Canada has sent over $11.8 million to the UNHCR.

The United Kingdom, Japan, Norway and Germany have also spent into the tens of millions of dollars, but in terms of spending as a percentage of the nation’s GDP, some surprisingly generous countries come out on top.

Kuwait has, by and large, put the most money toward the Syrian refugees with over $101 million, or almost 0.06 per cent of their nominal GDP. They are the most generous nation, especially in comparison with their neighbours like Saudi Arabia who have only offered 0.0006 per cent of their GDP, or $2,773,000. Though according to Amnesty International, Kuwait has offered “zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.”

Neither have Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Bahrain.

It is a stark contrast to Middle Eastern neighbours like Lebanon, Jordon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt who have cumulatively taken 95 per cent of the 4 million refugees. At this moment, 20 per cent of people living in Lebanon are Syrian refugees.

There are still 6.5 million people inside Syria who have been displaced from their homes due to the ongoing civil war between the Syrian government and rebels like ISIL.

Italy and Russia are the two countries providing the least amount of money toward the crisis, with Italy spending only $88,496 or 0.0000041 per cent of their nominal GDP. Russia has spent $300,000.

Canada falls in the middle of the pack with our donation worth 0.0006 per cent of the GDP, or $11.8 million, though Canada did pledge in 2014 to send $100 million over five years to Jordan to help with the influx of Syrian refugees.

In total so far, the 30 states funding UNHCR have sent over $547 million. The largest non-state donations have come from UNICEF ($322,758,565), the World Food Programme ($310,633,157), the Norwegian Refugee Council ($60,326,617) and Oxfam ($44,867,295).

View the interactive charts below to learn how much is being spent by countries around the world.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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