Germany increases aid for Middle Eastern refugees

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. [The Council of European Union]

Frank-Walter Steinmeier [The Council of European Union]

The German government announced plans to increase its humanitarian aid by €10 million for refugees from Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier scheduled an international conference to address the crisis at the end of the October. EURACTIV Germany reports.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has invited over 40 foreign ministers and representatives from international organisations to Berlin for a special conference on the 28 October.

The conference will bring together international partners to create measures that can help people “better and more effectively in this unprecedented humanitarian crisis”, Steinmeier explained on Wednesday (1 October).

“Since the beginning of the Syria crisis, we have provided hundreds of millions of euros to relieve people’s desperation, in Syria itself and in neighbouring countries,” Steinmeier told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

Turkey deserves special recognition, the Foreign Minister said, for its readiness to take in and care for so many refugees. The situation in Jordan and Lebanon is much more dramatic, he indicated.

>> Read: ‘Forgotten’ Syria in urgent need of humanitarian aid

But recently the German government announced plans to increase its humanitarian aid by €10 million for refugees from Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries.

“The catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria and Iraq has intensified due to the advance of ISIS troops. Aid organisations say they are running out of funds to provide food aid,” the Foreign Minister said.

This increase in aid is a first step, Steinmeier indicated, saying he hopes plans for the next few weeks will further expand aid.

To support those affected by the Syria crisis, Germany has contributed a total of €613,7 million since 2012, of which €347,07 million were for humanitarian aid, €191,65 million were meant to provide structural-building transitioning aid and €75 million for crisis management.

Combating the terrorist group ISIS was also a central issue at the 69th meeting of the UN General Assembly.

“This barbaric behaviour is directed against all of us – against everything the United Nations stand for,” Steinmeier explained on Saturday (27 September) before the General Assembly. As a result, he said, the reaction must be far beyond the bare necessities of humanitarian and military support. Germany is contributing significantly in both categories, Steinmeier indicated, even militarily.

“But all of that must be embedded in a political alliance against ISIS terror,” he emphasised.

“My country emphatically joins this alliance and I insist that Middle Eastern societies, in particular, also do the same. There is much more on the line than simply their security.”

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2178 (2014), aimed at more effectively combating terrorism. According to the resolution, the states have agreed to do everything within their power to keep extremists from leaving their countries and travelling to crisis regions.

In addition, the UN Security Council underlined the urgent need to apply the resolution to foreign terrorist fighters “who are connected to ISIS, the Al-Nusra-Front and other cells, sub-groups, splinter organisations or offshoots of Al-Qaida”.

The UN estimates that at least 6.8 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, but an NGO survey of seven districts in northern Syria found more than 10.5 million people in needs of assistance.

More than one million children have fled Syria, over 7000 have been killed and more than two million lack access to sufficient food inside the country.

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