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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet Visited Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordan

10.01.2013

Yesterday Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited the Syrian refugee camp located in Zaatar, Jordan, 30 kilometres from the Syrian border, where so far 63 000 people have found refuge. Nearly half of them are children. There is already a total of 270 000 Syrian refugees in Jordan and the number is growing.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that due to bad weather, the living conditions of people in the Zaatar camp have become very poor. “In addition to the fact that people lack food and water, they must also deal with problems caused by the rain and cold weather. For months the refugees have been living in tents that are not heated, and many tents are flooded with rainwater,” said Paet, describing the situation in the camp.

Paet said that Estonia is supporting the improvement of Syrian refugees’ situation in Jordan with an additional 100 000 euros. “Above all the refugees require a heated living space,” he added.

The foreign minister also noted that if the Syrian conflict continues and armed activity intensifies, we can expect the number of refugees in Jordan and Syria’s other neighbouring countries to grow even greater. “Therefore the international community must continue to support Syrian refugees as well as the countries that have put forth great effort to welcome refugees. In Jordan, for example, about 1000-1500 new refugees arrive each day,” he emphasised.

Paet said that we must continue to pressure the Syrian regime to engage in negotiations to find a solution to the conflict. “In addition to ending the violence, it is essential to achieve a cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government in Syria,” he noted.

In addition to the new donation, Estonia has already supported Syrian refugees in Jordan with 50 000 euros donated through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Estonia has also supported Syrian refugees in Turkey with 70 000 euros through the Red Cross Federation, the UN Emergency Response Fund for Syria with 50 000 euros, and the humanitarian aid operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria with 50 000 euros. At the end of January an international aid conference about helping Syrian refugees led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will be held in Kuwait.

Over 60 000 lives have been lost and at least 2.5 million people require humanitarian aid as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria. According to UN data there are a total of 540 000 refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt, and the number continues to grow. There are also nearly 4 million internally displaced persons in Syria.

Photos of the foreign minister’s visit to the refugee camp: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/sets/721576324838...

 

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