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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: International Community Must Give More Aid to Four Million Syrian Refugees, Half of Whom Are Children

19.02.2013

No 54-E

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the humanitarian crisis in Syria is rapidly intensifying and close to four million people need immediate humanitarian aid. The international community must focus even more than before on supporting the refugees.

The European Union foreign ministers discussed the situation in Syria in Brussels.

“The humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening. According to UN data, about four million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid,” Paet stated. “We must work to create opportunities that would help people practically,” he stated.

Over 60 000 people have been killed in the Syria conflict, and according to UN data there is a total of over 775 000 refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. If the conflict continues the number will grow and could reach 1.1 million in the upcoming months. “Helping refugees and ending the violence in Syria are crucial,” he emphasised.

A majority of the Syrian refugees are women and children, with about half being children. If the crisis continues Syria could lose an entire generation, as these children are being deprived of a childhood. “At the international aid conference for Syria in Kuwait at the end of January, Estonia promised to support the Syria Regional Response Plan with a total of 300 000 euros, of which 100 000 euros we have already contributed through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to help refugees in Jordan and another 100 000 through UNICEF to help Syrian refugees continue their education in Lebanon,” Paet said.

“So far we have also supported Syrian refugees in Jordan with 50 000 euros and in Turkey with 70 000 euros as well as allocated 50 000 euros for the Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Fun of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and 50 000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for aiding victims of the Syria crisis,” he noted. “Preparations are being made for the possibility of Rescue Board members being sent to the humanitarian aid mission at the Za’atar refugee camp in Jordan,” the foreign minister added.

He stated that in order to end the violence it is necessary to achieve a truce and form a transitional government in Syria. “We still strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s military attacks on its own people; the gross violations of human rights must not go unpunished and their perpetrators will be held responsible,” he said.

Additional information:
Helen Ennok
Press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
press@mfa.ee
www.vm.ee

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