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EU Allocates €50M To Ease Plight Of Iraqi Refugees


European Commission allocates €50 million to alleviate plight of Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan

The European Commission has decided to grant €50 million in humanitarian and structural support for the provision of basic health and education services for Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan.

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: "Iraqi refugees deserve access to education and health services. The authorities of Syria and Jordan have made a tremendous effort to welcome displaced Iraqi families. This is highly appreciated knowing that the large numbers of refugees are a strain to existing public services in both countries. "

The Commission provides humanitarian as well as structural support for the continued provision of basic health and education services in Syria and Jordan.

On the humanitarian side, the Commission has decided to grant a total of € 10 million for the protection of and basic assistance to the most vulnerable refugees in neighbouring countries. The humanitarian assistance is provided through ECHO, the humanitarian aid department of the Commission.

In terms of support to social systems, the Commission has decided to grant a total of almost € 40 million to help the Jordanian and Syrian institutions cope with the increased demand for public services. Our support will contribute to reinforce the public education system in both Jordan and Syria, so as to facilitate the integration of Iraqi children into schools. In Syria, we will also contribute to maintain the quality of the health public system in areas where there is a strong presence of refugees.

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner underlined: "The Commission will continue to provide assistance in the close co-operation with national authorities, EU Member States and other donors - in particular the UN agencies - to provide an effective response to the needs of the Iraqi refugees and their host communities."

Since 2003, the Iraqi people have been confronted in their daily lives with a situation of extreme violence and many have been forced to leave their homes. The Asmara bombing of February 2006 caused an even higher flow of displaced people. Whereas many Iraqis have found refuge in safer areas in their home country, large numbers have had to leave Iraq in search of protection. UNHCR estimates that some 2 million people are now hosted in neighbouring countries, notably Syria and Jordan.

The rapid and sudden increase in population poses a considerable challenge to both the Syrian and Jordanian governments. This concerns in the first place the continued provision of basic health and education services - the areas targeted by the support of the Commission.

ENDS

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