Council of Ministers approves EUR 2.5 million for humanitarian aid in Mali and Syria from the Foreign Disaster Fund.
In the Council of Ministers on 31 July 2019, the Federal Government decided to disburse humanitarian funds totalling EUR 2.5 million. “Austria is resolutely pursuing its humanitarian commitment. Organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization are important partners in this context,” said Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein.
“With half a million euros for each organisation we are providing urgently needed aid and support the important work of the ICRC and the WHO in the refugee camps in north-eastern Syria. This will enable us to further strengthen the aid being provided in camps such as al-Hol,” said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. Items such as food, tents, clean water, mobile aid units and waste disposal measures will be made available in the overcrowded camps.
Since December 2018, violent clashes over the liberation of the last areas controlled by the IS have also led to a massive increase in refugee flows to the camps in north-eastern Syria. The number of residents in the al-Hol refugee camp, for example, has risen to about 74,000, an estimated 90 percent of whom are women and children. According to the United Nations, more than 13 million people in Syria, including 5.6 million children, are currently dependent on humanitarian aid and protection after eight years of war.
A further EUR 1.5 million from the Foreign Disaster Fund is earmarked for the ICRC to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Mali. The security situation in the Sahel region and in Mali in particular, remains critical and is significantly exacerbated by the effects of climate change. “In cooperation with the local Red Cross Society, the funds will be used to support the affected population with food and other supplies and to ensure access to clean drinking water,” said the Foreign Minister.
The number of people displaced by conflict and violence has increased dramatically in Central and Northern Mali, with an additional 133,000 people being internally displaced since the beginning of the year, according to a report by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). According to ECHO, some 3.2 million people in Mali are affected by food insecurity and inter-communal conflicts.
Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Press Department
Tel: +43 (0) 50 11 50 - 3320 Fax: +43 (0) 50 11 50 - 213