Government provides additional $1 million to Syria

A cyclist makes their way through the rubble in Aleppo, Syria (Reuters)
A cyclist makes their way through the rubble in Aleppo, Syria (Reuters)

New Zealand will provide an additional $1 million to help Syrian people affected by the civil war, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced today. 

The money will go to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which has been helping to evacuate civilians from Aleppo.

"New Zealanders are appalled at the ongoing death and destruction in Syria and the conditions on the ground in besieged areas such as east Aleppo," Mr McCully said.

"During our time on the United Nations Security Council, New Zealand has actively pushed for greater humanitarian access and a political resolution to the Syrian crisis, and it was a key focus of our presidency of the Council in September.

"New Zealand has also steadily increased direct support for people forced from their homes by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq", Mr McCully said.

The announcement brings New Zealand's assistance to Iraq and Syria to over $26 million since 2012.

The additional funding comes on the same day the Syrian army announced it had retaken Aleppo, as the last group of rebel fighters were evacuated from the city.

Labour Foreign Affairs spokesman David Parker supported the $1 million figure to aid with the "appalling situation".

While Mr Parker was supportive of the Government's contribution to Syria and Iraq, he said Labour would have liked to have seen the refugee quota increased to 1500 this year.

The Government increased the refugee quota from 750 to 1000, which will take effect in 2018. It was the first increase to the quota since 1987.