Swiss pledge more funds for refugee crises and Ebola

Syrian refugees from Kobani waiting for transport at the border crossing between Syria and Turkey Keystone
This content was published on October 29, 2014 - 10:57 and agencies

The government has pledged an additional CHF40 million ($42.2 million) for the victims of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq as well as for efforts to contain the spread of the Ebola virus in western Africa.

Half the money to fight the virus will be used on prevention and treatment, boosting healthcare systems and tackling the economic impact of the epidemic in the affected countries, according to the Swiss foreign ministryExternal link.

Switzerland has already earmarked up to CHF9 million to help the fight against Ebola.

Last week the government agreed to examine Swiss participation in a United Nations mission in the virus-stricken regions.

A final decision is expected for next week. Up to 90 military and civilian volunteers and several helicopters could be deployed in the area to help transport medical personnel and material.

The mission could begin in December at the earliest according to the defence ministry.  

Refugee aid

The other CHF20 million pledged on Wednesday are to be spent to provide assistance to people fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

“Switzerland’s additional humanitarian contribution will help those concerned to survive the winter,” a cabinet statement said.

Part of the funds are also destined for Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey which host large refugee communities.

Since 2011, the Swiss government has spent a total of CHF115 million for humanitarian aid in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The latest pledge comes a day after delegates at an international conference in Berlin – including Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter – called for increased aid efforts.

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