United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the announcement by the Emir of Qatar to allocate $50 million to support Syrian refugees and displaced persons affected by the recent severe weather in the Middle East.
Deputy UN Spokesman Farhan Haq on Thursday confirmed the allocation, telling reporters at the daily UN Headquarters press briefing that the UN chief was very grateful to the Emir and the people of Qatar for their generosity.
“As you know, the recent harsh winter conditions in the Levant has had a horrific impact on populations who were already vulnerable, both refugees as well as the communities hosting them,” Mr. Haq said, adding that humanitarian partners continue to respond to the needs of those affected and are reinforcing preparedness and mitigation efforts.
“These difficult conditions make Qatar’s donation extremely valuable and timely for the UN system’s efforts to help vulnerable people,” he said.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated in late January that nearly 2.4 million women, children and men across Syria would struggle during the winter season to get adequate warmth and would require targeted support.
This would include tens of thousands of newly-displaced people, including those in displacement sites and open areas, those who have been displaced multiple times and for long periods and now live in sub-standard shelters, but also returnees and host communities.
The UN relief wing said people would need sleeping bags, winter clothes, plastic sheeting, high thermal blankets, heaters and stoves.