The UAE is one of the first countries that responded to the Syrian crisis, as it provided humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, in addition to the internally displaced persons (IDP) over the last two years.
The total UAE humanitarian aid provided to Syria during crisis in 2012 and 2013 reached Dh306.8 million ($83.53 million).
With the Syrian crisis entering its third year, the number of the Syrian refugees reached more than 2.34 million in the neighboring countries, and 4.25 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs), according to the statistics of the UNHCR, announced last December. Also, there are more than 9 million people in need for urgent humanitarian assistance, especially with the beginning of the harsh winter.
The Minister of International Cooperation and Development, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, has commended on the active role of UAE donor organisations for providing every possible help and support to the Syrian refugees, as per the directives by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The UAE Minister made the remarks at the sidelines of release of the report by the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development on humanitarian assistance provided by UAE and its donor organisations to the Syrian refugees over the last two years
She noted that upon the directives of the UAE President those organisations made an active role and outlined a clear humanitarian road-map that gained an international tribute from the active player countries and international humanitarian organisations.
Sheikh Lubna said the biggest UAE donor to mitigate the Syrian crisis was the Government, which provided Dh206 million in the past two years, and that the assistance leapt from Dh52 million in 2012, to almost fourfold during 2013, to reach about Dh254.68 million, through the response of those active humanitarian organisations to the crisis in Syria.
Various UAE humanitarian donors have provided the relief aid, including food items, shelter, education programmes, building the Emirati-Jordanian camp, supporting vaccination initiatives, and cooperating with international organisations and international partners in implementing relief projects and initiatives, to alleviate the impact of the crisis on the affected people.
UAE and humanitarian donors’ efforts include, Emirates-Jordanian Camp. In 2013, the UAE opened the Emirati-Jordanian camp in Mrijib Al Fhood area near Al Zarqa city at a cost of Dh36 million. Currently, the camp hosts more than 4,000 Syrian refugees. In addition to the available services in the camp for refugees, it also include a playgrounds, TV halls for children and another one for women, in addition to a medical center with specialised clinics, a commercial zone and a kitchen. It also organises variety of programmes, events and humanitarian initiatives. Also, schools were opened in coordination with UNICEF, who worked with the administration of the camp to fulfill all the requirements and customise the school curriculums.
As per the directives by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Red Crescent Authority, in collaboration with National Media Council (NMC), launched a 3 - day campaign titled: "Our heart with the people of Syria" from 19th – 21st December, aiming to provide aid to the Syrian refugees.
The campaign raised more than Dh126 million in three days and the in-kind donations reached 153,000 pieces of winter clothes. The RCA asserted that it’s about to ship the clothes to the Syrian refugees camps in the neighboring countries, with the lion share of donations to be handed out to the refugees in the Emirati –Jordanian camp.
The UAE had provided the UNHCR with a 600 Caravan, with a cost of Dh6.7 million, for the Syrian refugees in Al Zaatari camp, to benefit 3,900 family and protecting them from the frigid cold, rains and snow storms.
UAE also supported the health initiatives for children and humanitarian relief. H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s representative in the Western region of Abu Dhabi, Chairman of RCA, has sponsored the immunisation of 1.6 million Syrian children against Polio, in coordination with UNICEF at a cost of Dh2.6 million to cover children under-five in Syria. Currently, UNICEF is implementing an intensive immunisation campaign against the disease in Syria and another six countries in the Middle East, aiming to protect 20 Million children and eliminate the epidemic.
UAE, in collaboration with Britain, is working on implementing a joint education project for the Syrian student refugees in "Mreejab Al Fohood" camp, The total cost of the project, which was entirely paid by the British government, is Dh9.8 million (£1.7 million), and aiming to provide cadres and various materials needed for assuring the continuous education for the 6,250 students in the camp.
Unicef is working on implementing the education project, as it is providing the teaching cadres and other various educational materials and supplies.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) also cooperated with RCA to build 12 rooms, including studying halls and workshops to train male/female students on the electric engineering, carpentry, female health club, library and separated restrooms. The joint project, which is located near the Emirati-Jordanian camp, will be opened in mid-January 2014. The two entities cooperate to support the educational process in camp by providing intensive curriculums to catch up what the refugee students missed during the past two and a half years.
UAE-Jordan field hospital was established in late August 2012. Having 80 Medical doctors and nurses, the hospital benefitted about 97,000 patients, in addition to support and equipping three hospitals, which received 189 childbirth cases. The hospital is equipped with the most modern equipment and specialised carders to follow up the health condition of all patients; in addition, there is a mobile field hospital ready to move around to any Syrian refugee that needs medical help, in coordination with the concerned Jordanian entities, to provide an outstanding healthcare.