Merkel calls for aid to Syrian refugees

2014-10-28 13:44
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (File: AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (File: AFP) (Odd Anderson, AFP)

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Berlin - The German government was on Tuesday hosting an international conference in Berlin, where donor nations and envoys from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were to confer on how to help Syrian refugees through the upcoming cold season.

Speaking on the eve of the conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "I hope a strong signal of solidarity comes from this conference."

She was speaking before talks were held on Monday at her office with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who was to address the conference on the huge number of Syrians who have moved into his nation to wait out the conflict.

"This is one of the most important and volatile issues that is confronting Lebanon today," Salam said.

Germany is urging the European Union to release funds to help the millions of Syrian refugees.

"This is one of the disasters of the century [in the making]," said Development Aid Minister Gerd Mueller. "There'll be deaths unless immediate, decisive and resolute additional action is taken."

Mueller said billions of euros could be diverted from existing EU budget lines.

More than 50 non-government aid organizations issued a joint appeal in Berlin for aid spending for Syrians to double and for Western nations to take in at least 180 000 of the refugees, millions of whom are displaced inside Syria or living in camps just over the border.

The UN office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says 3.2 million Syrians have fled abroad and 6.45 million are internally displaced out of a total pre-war population of 22.4 million.

Read more on:    eu  |  germany  |  syria  |  refugees

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