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Doubling of NEIGHBOUR IN NEED donations for Syria: Austria provides EUR 4,143,000 for humanitarian aid in Syria

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In view of the humanitarian emergency situation in Syria, the Federal Government is doubling all private donations collected by this Easter Sunday for the relief campaign "NEIGHBOUR IN NEED - Catastrophe in Idlib", and is therefore providing EUR 4,143,000 from the Foreign Disaster Fund (FDF) for the crisis region in Syria. The humanitarian funds will be allocated to special programmes of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in Syria.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is catastrophic after ten years of war. The recent military conflicts in the north of the country, especially in the Idlib region, and the Covid-19 epidemic are further exacerbating the situation. We will therefore provide EUR 4,143,000 from the Foreign Disaster Fund to support the work of UNHCR, UNICEF and the WHO directly on the ground in Syria,

explained Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

EUR 1,657,200 each will be made available to UNHCR and UNICEF, and EUR 1,657,200 to the WHO. These organisations play a key role in helping to alleviate the humanitarian emergency in Syria: UNHCR currently has the best access to all internally displaced persons in the country, especially in the volatile situation in the Idlib region. UNICEF is vital in the fight against Covid-19 because of its specialisation in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene facilities). The WHO, as the leading agency in the health sector, plays an important role in providing medical supplies and addressing the precarious hygiene situation in the Al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria.

I thank all Austrians for their generous support for NEIGHBOUR IN NEED. Thanks to them, we can make an important contribution to aid on the ground, especially in times of corona. Supporting these people in Syria, who are suffering from one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of our time, is the most effective way of providing aid.

explains Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

In addition, the international organisations supported by FDF payments have developed specific programmes to combat Covid-19, in particular to protect the most vulnerable population groups in Syria. These include internally displaced persons living in the most precarious conditions in the makeshift camps in northern Syria. Due to the lack of the most basic resources, such as water, sanitation, hygiene facilities and medical care, these vulnerable population groups are at a particularly high risk of infection.

Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler stressed:

Aid on the ground is of paramount importance and a priority of this Federal Government. We thank the people of Austria for showing, again and again, their great willingness to donate. With this EUR 4,143,000, the staff of UNHCR, UNICEF and the WHO can now pay special attention to the people in Idlib who are doubly affected and suffering from war and now also from the threat of the coronavirus.