Wien, 18. September 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: “Austria responds to dramatic situation of Syrian refugees”

Vice-Chancellor announces doubling of humanitarian aid for Syria

Vienna, 18 Sept. 2012 – In view of the critical humanitarian situation in Syria, Austria is going to significantly increase its aid for the country that is shattered by civil war. “We are going to double the amount of 1 million euro that has already been dedicated to alleviate the severe humanitarian crisis in Syria. In doing so, we respond to the aggravation of the situation in Syria and support the neighbouring countries in coming to terms with the refugees“, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said today after the session of the Ministerial Council.

Starting from Spindelegger’s initiative, the Austrian Government decided to provide the additional financial funds from the Funds for Foreign Disaster Relief. The funds will be made available to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Austrian non-governmental organizations, Spindelegger explained. The UNHCR is going to receive 650,000 euros, and 350,000 euros are earmarked for aid projects of Austrian NGOs working in the region.

Spindelegger referred to the aggravation of the humanitarian situation in Syria. Thousands of families have been displaced in the course of the past few weeks because of the intense fighting between government troops and the opposition. Many Syrians no longer have access to the most basic supplies, such as food, water and medical aid. According to estimates of the United Nations, more than 2.5 million people in Syria are currently in need of humanitarian aid, 1.5 million of them displaced persons. Add to this the growing funds needed to manage the increasing numbers of refugees who seek shelter in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq (74% of them women and children). The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that more than 253,000 Syrians have been registered as refugees in the neighbouring countries.

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