Vienna, 16 April 2013 - "The conflict in Syria has lasted for over two years now and it is resulting in an ever increasing death toll and destroying the livelihood of millions of people. Moreover, the pressure on the neighbouring countries of Syria is also increasing, with more and more refugees from Syria seeking shelter. Last week I visited a refugee camp in Lebanon and witnessed the harsh living conditions of Syrian refugees. We would like to make a contribution here and have decided to make an additional two million euros from the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund available to alleviate humanitarian distress", Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger announced today after the session of the Ministerial Council.
1.1 million euros will be dedicated to the UNHCR in the framework of the emergency aid call of the United Nations for Syrian refugees in the region. 900,000 euros are earmarked for aid projects of Austrian non-governmental organisations to help Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. The Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management is donating 300,000 euros in the form of food aid under the World Food Programme. Taking the food aid of the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the services in kind provided by the Ministry of the Interior into account, Austria has provided humanitarian aid amounting to some 6 million euros to help alleviate the distress caused by the conflict in Syria.
The numbers mentioned by the United Nations illustrate the drastic humanitarian situation: 6.5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. 4 million people have been internally displaced. More than 1.2 million people - about three quarters of them women and children - have to take refuge in neighbouring countries.
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