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Nine million Syrian refugees require humanitarian assistance to face harsh winter conditions, says UAEs MICAD
(News: 01-08-2015 )

ABU DHABI, 7th January 2015 (WAM) --- Over nine million Syrian refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will require humanitarian assistance to face a harsh winter, the UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) has said noting that 14 percent of the Syrian refugees are living in camps near valleys and slopes in the three neighbouring countries.

In its 'Humanitarian Brief: Snowstorm hits Syrian refugees and IDPs', MICAD said that nine million Syrian refugees and IDPs in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq are suffering from harsh winter conditions due to inclement weather, in particular the powerful snow storm, dubbed Huda or Zeina that is sweeping across the region.

 

The snowstorm started on 6 January, and wind speeds reached 110 km/h in some regions, with severe snow fall and temperatures dropping in some areas to below four degrees Celsius below zero in some areas.

 

In Syria, the effects of the polar depression started with a pouring rain, which raised concerns of floods and mudslides in valleys and inclines.

 

Temperatures, MICAD noted, are expected to reach seven degrees Celsius below zero with snow forecasted to continue falling for the next four days. Temperatures may reach as low as 10 degrees Celsius below zero and snow is expected to fall over all altitudes above 600 meters across the country.

 

In Lebanon, the polar storm hit Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon's northeastern border town of Arsal disrupting tents and temporary shelters.

 

The escalating price of diesel up to US$100 per barrel is leading to diminished supplies thus limiting the refugees? capacity to heating their shelters and cook food.

 

In Jordan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has increased their financial support to cover 21,000 Syrian refugee families for this month; however another 9,000 families remain in need of humanitarian assistance. UNHCR is calling for support from the international community.

 

As part of the UAE's response to the humanitarian situation of the Syrian refugees, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Tuesday, ordered the launch of a humanitarian airlift to transport urgent relief items, including winter clothing, blankets and food items to the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, in addition to affected people in Gaza and other parts of Palestine.

 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai also called on all parties to .support Sheikh Khalifa?s call.

 

Today, Wednesday, the UAE is launching a campaign tomorrow Wednesday to raise funds for refugees and people in the Levant to help them survive the powerful snow storm Huda expected to hit the region in the coming days.

 

A national committee comprising representatives of government departments and national media outfits was urgently formed to carry out the campaign, "Show Compassion" (Tarahamu in Arabic). It seeks to provide warmth for one million people, including refugees, affected by winter conditions.

 

On Friday, all the local media channels will also air a unified broadcast to cover the events of the humanitarian fundraiser.