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Swiss winter aid increased for refugees

An elderly woman sits on the ground at a temporary camp near Dohuk, northern Iraq, in August Keystone

Swiss aid organisations have increased their support for refugees affected by civil war in Syria and Iraq ahead of winter. 

Disaster relief organisation CaritasExternal link announced on Thursday an emergency programme for Erbil and Dohuk in northern Iraq for CHF800,000 ($825,000). The organisation said the money should benefit 25,000 people displaced by war who live in empty houses or tents outside official refugee camps. 

These people have already received for the past year urgently needed packages including food, sanitary products and vitamin supplements. 

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red CrossExternal link (ICRC) has sent the same packages to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. From the beginning of January to the end of May it plans to provide an additional CHF850,000 in winter aid. 

Swiss SolidarityExternal link is also supporting several winter projects in the region, including CHF200,000 for a children’s project run by Terre des HommesExternal link in Iraq and CHF500,000 for Médecins Sans FrontièresExternal link, which is providing medical assistance to Syrian refugees in a camp in Dohuk. 

This work is especially important in winter since refugees are more likely to fall ill during this period, said Swiss Solidarity spokeswoman Daniela Toupane. 

Since 2012 Swiss Solidarity has donated CHF1.2 million to 11 winter projects of Caritas, Swiss Church AidExternal link, MedairExternal link and Solidar SuisseExternal link

Some ten million people have been forced to flee their homes by the war in Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCRExternal link). Of those, more than three million have found refuge in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 

More than 3.5 million people have fled the fighting in Iraq, 400,000 ending up abroad.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR