News / USA

US Aid for Syrian Refugees Examined, Criticized by Lawmakers

FILE - Syrian refugees collect water at Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq.
FILE - Syrian refugees collect water at Al Zaatri refugee camp near the border with Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq.
Michael Bowman
— U.S. officials say the Syrian refugee crisis is deepening and overwhelming the ability of aid providers to respond to a humanitarian disaster of horrific proportions. On Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers heard a sobering assessment from America’s top refugee and humanitarian aid officials and responded with impatient calls for more to be done.
 
Syria’s civil war has displaced more than 2 million people - half of them children - and overwhelmed the ability of its neighbors to accept refugees. The State Department’s point person for refugees, Assistant Secretary Anne Richard, bluntly summarized the situation before a Senate panel on Capitol Hill.
 
“In a sense, it is the suicide of Syria. It is such an overwhelming crisis that, even though so many lives have been saved and so many people have gotten help in the places to which they have run, it is not enough,” said Richard.
 
Also testifying was humanitarian administrator Nancy Lindborg, of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), who described an unprecedented mobilization by governments and aid groups to funnel assistance to Syria and its neighbors, including U.S. efforts totaling $1.3 billion.
 
“We know that humanitarian assistance is not the solution to this crisis, and it absolutely cannot end the bloodshed. But it is saving countless lives,” said Lindborg.
 
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was among those who challenged the Obama administration to do more.
 
“We have been a day late and a dollar short consistently with our response to the Syrian crisis, and as a result I think there has been unnecessary human suffering,” said Whitehouse.
 
Fellow Democratic Senator Richard Durbin said the United States should take in more Syrian refugees and do so at a faster pace. When Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked if the refugee flow is destabilizing Syria’s neighbors, Anne Richard replied in the affirmative.
 
“It is having a devastating impact. It is undermining the stability of the region. It is no longer a Syria crisis, it is a regional crisis,” explained Richard.
 
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the humanitarian disaster would grow even more dire if countries like Jordan and Lebanon sealed their borders with Syria, and urged the officials present to draw up contingency plans for a worst-case scenario in the year to come.
 
“I am giving you an opportunity to tell us that maybe the worst is yet to come and prepare members of Congress who are sympathetic what kind of bill [funding request] you may send us. I would suggest to take this opportunity to sit down and write out what we may be facing as a nation in terms of our obligations to stabilize the region,” said Graham.
 
USAID’s Nancy Lindborg said worst-case scenarios have been envisioned - and repeatedly exceeded by the situation in and around Syria.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid