Swiss President Didier Burkhalter has called for aid given to Syrian and Iraqi refugees to be stepped up, saying that despite their best efforts, aid organisations cannot keep up with demand. With winter approaching there was no time to lose, he added.
Burkhalter was speaking in front of representatives from 40 different countries at the international Syrian refugee conference in Berlin on Tuesday.
“We have to act right now to ensure that thousands of people have a warm and secure place to stay,” he told delegates.
Switzerland will deliver tents, heaters and blankets to Iraq this year. In his speech, Burkhalter commented that Switzerland had been involved in donating winter supplies since 2011.
In terms of financial support, Burkhalter said that the Swiss have so far allocated around CHF115 million ($121.5 million) to help those affected by the crises in Syria and Iraq, adding that “we are ready to further increase our support”.
The Swiss president said that finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria would be “tackling the root causes of the refugee crisis”, further commenting that “resolute measures against those who stand for nothing but violence and destruction” should be taken.
The Swiss government outlawed the outlaw the militant Islamic State group at the start of October, banning all activities, propaganda and financial support of the group.
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