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Russia to contribute USD 10 M to UN to help solve Syrian refugees’ problems

June 08, 2013, 17:40 UTC+3

On June 7, U.N. humanitarian agencies called on donor nations to provide billions of U.S. dollars in additional funding

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MOSCOW, June 8 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian government has made the decision to contribute an additional 10 million U.S. dollars to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to help Jordan and Libya address the problems of Syrian refugees, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, June 8.

On June 7, U.N. humanitarian agencies called on donor nations to provide billions of U.S. dollars in additional funding to help millions of desperate Syrians inside and outside their country.

The appeal, which covers all of 2013, comprises 2.9 billion U.S. dollars for the UNHCR-led plan to help refugees in the surrounding region, and 1.4 billion U.S. dollars for the OCHA-led humanitarian efforts inside Syria. In addition, there is a new appeal for 449 million U.S. dollars from the Lebanese government and a 380 million U.S. dollar appeal from the government of Jordan.

The appeal was made at a press conference in Geneva by U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

They “expressed concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and discussed how to help the population affected by the hostilities,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Many countries supported the Russian-American initiative to convene an international conference on Syria.”

Russia stressed that “political settlement on the basis of the Geneva Communique is the key to resolving humanitarian problems in Syria.”

It also reiterated its active role in alleviating the position of Syrians both inside and outside their country. “Large volumes of Russian humanitarian aid have been directed to Syria via bilateral channels. Russian Emergencies Ministry planes have delivered basic necessities for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Libya,” the ministry said.

“Russia continues to finance international humanitarian organisations’ programmes to help Syria and is among the twenty leading donor nations,” the ministry said.

More than 1.6 million people have fled to neighbouring countries since the conflict broke out in March 2011, while some 4.25 million are believed to be displaced within Syria and many more are affected by the war, the U.N. Refugee Agency said.

“Syria as a civilisation is unraveling with as many as half of its citizens in need of urgent help as a result of this savage conflict. The funds we are appealing for are a matter of survival for suffering Syrians and they are essential for neighbouring countries that are hosting refugees,” Guterres said at the press conference on June 7.

The previous U.N. appeal in December 2012 estimated that the number of refugees would be about 1.1 million in June. The current figure is 1.6 million and growing. UNHCR now estimates there could be up to 3.45 million Syrian refugees by the end of the year. The OCHA (U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) appeal estimates that 6.8 million people inside Syria will be affected by the conflict and in need of help.

With new funding, humanitarian organizations aim to scale up operations and feed 4 million Syrians and 420,000 Palestinian refugees; immunize 1.7 million children; provide nearly 7 million people with health care and 10 million with safe drinking water - especially with the summer approaching and waterborne diseases on the rise. Education, protection and community services, sanitation, shelter and farming support are all vital for vulnerable communities. Finding ways to deliver aid to the 2.9 million people living across conflict lines is a top priority, UNHCR said.

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