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Solidarity funds


Swiss give CHF7 million for refugee aid


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The charity Swiss Solidarity says it received more than CHF7 million ($7.2 million) in donations from the public as it held a National Day of Solidarity for Refugees from war torn countries.

The money will be used to help ease conditions for refugees of conflict zones, such as Syria, as they arrive in neighbouring countries or make their way to Europe through the Balkans.

Swiss Solidarity has raised some CHF30 million towards this cause in the last three years to help refugees from Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Libya. Pledges of more than CHF13 million have been made in the last three weeks in response to the worsening refugee crisis.

The donations will fund food, medicine, water and clothing and support reception centres that offer psychological counselling and legal aid.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have been heading towards Europe in recent months, putting a strain on individual countries, such as Hungary, and the whole European Union migration system.

On Monday, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga expressed disappointment as EU interior ministers postponed of a permanent decision to distribute refugees across European countries. Ministers will now decide early next month on how to cope with the situation.

Earlier this year, the Swiss government agreed to welcome an additional 3,000 refugees over the course of the next three years. Since the war began four years ago, Switzerland has taken in around 9,000 Syrian refugees.

The cabinet also approved an additional CHF20 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, bringing Switzerland’s contribution to CHF50 million for the war-torn country in 2015.

Swiss Solidarity is the fundraising arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of swissinfo.ch. Last year it supported 175 projects to the tune of CHF46.6 million.

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