H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has ordered the launch of a winter aid programme for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Greece, Egypt and other countries, costing AED15 million, which will benefit a million refugees.
Sheikh Hamdan also directed the participation of ERC’s volunteers from various medical, ambulatory, relief and logistical specialisations in the programme’s implementation.
Sheikh Hamdan stated that the UAE is prioritising Syrian refugees, as per the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the support of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the monitoring of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
He added that the UAE’s initiatives support the international efforts to ease the suffering of refugees and improve their humanitarian conditions.
The programme is part of the initiatives of the UAE and its leadership to help refugees since the start of the Syrian crisis and continues the ERC’s relevant efforts, which include distributing considerable quantities of food and health parcels, winter clothes, heating equipment, blankets, children’s supplies, and shelter materials.
Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC, stated that the programme, which is being implemented as per the directives and monitoring of Sheikh Hamdan, aims to provide for the needs of refugees and help them through low temperatures and changeable weather conditions during winter.
He added that nutritious food protects refugees from the effects of winter, so the ERC has prioritised its provision of healthy food while noting that the multi-stage programme will continue until the end of winter, to answer the needs of refugees in targeted countries.
Dr. Al Falahi affirmed that the ERC’s strategy to support Syrian refugees relies on assessing their current conditions and their movement to neighbouring countries while pointing out that their requirements and needs differ during every stage of their journey.
The ERC aims to increase the number of beneficiaries of its winter aid, which are being distributed to Syrian refugees in the Emirati-Jordanian Camp Mrajeeb Al Fhood and the Zaatari, Irbid and Al Mafraq camps, as well as other shelters. It is also helping refugees outside the camps, who are spread around Jordan’s governorates and cities.
Around 135,000 people have benefitted from the programme in Jordan, at a cost of AED4.84 million.
In Lebanon, 54,000 people have benefitted from the winter aid in mountain areas, at a cost of AED2.21 million.
The ERC also provided aid to refugees in the Kurdish region of Iraq, which witnessed a considerable influx of refugees from Iraqi cities, along with Syrian refugees.
The ERC provided winter aid to around 75,000 people in Erbil Governorate, at a cost of AED2.03 million, but did not overlook Syrian refugees in Greece, especially those in its camps in Ritsona and Larissa, as well as other camps in the country.
Around 100,000 refugees have benefitted from the programme in Greece, which is valued at AED2 million while 50,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt also benefitted, at a cost of AED1 million.
Some 586,000 people benefitted from the ERC's winter aid programme in other neighbouring countries, which are expected to be affected by cold weather and frost, at a cost of AED3.56 million.