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Switzerland approves CHF80 million in emergency aid for Ukraine

Man walks through devastated street of Mariupol.
A man walks along a street damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

The Swiss government has boosted its humanitarian support to victims of the war in Ukraine. On Friday it approved CHF80 million ($86 million) as an “expression of its solidarity with Ukrainians in need”.

“Around 12 million people are dependent on emergency aid because of Russia’s ongoing military intervention in Ukraine. With this contribution, Switzerland is expressing its solidarity with Ukrainians in need,” the government said in a statementExternal link on Friday.

Since the start of the war Switzerland has made available relief supplies, deployed aid specialists and given financial support to certain humanitarian organisations. The Alpine nation has already sent over 500 tonnes of aid to Ukraine, Poland and Moldova, for example.

Switzerland initially set aside CHF8 million for its Ukraine aid operation; this has now been raised to CHF80 million.

A quarter of this money will go towards helping Ukrainian refugees in neighbouring countries, such as Poland. Three-quarters of it has been earmarked for people in Ukraine. Funds will go to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, UN agencies, and international and local NGOs and projects implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Ukraine.

Refugees

Since the beginning of the war, more than 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Around 1.5 million people have travelled to Poland.

The UNHCR estimates that 10-15 million Ukrainians will be displaced by the war, out of a population of 44 million. The UNHCR head, Filippo Grandi, said it was the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

Switzerland has registered 1,624 Ukrainians, of whom 1,145 are staying in federal asylum centres and 479 are with relatives and acquaintances. However, the authorities expect his figure to rise steeply. Between 50,000 and 60,000 Ukrainians could seek protection in Switzerland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Swiss justice minister.

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