x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

RCA collects Dh45m for Syrian refugees

Delegations heading to Lebanon and Jordan to deliver aid

DUBAI // Thousands of Syrians who have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the continuing violence at home will soon receive a helping hand from the UAE.

In a campaign titled They Called for Help and We Responded, the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) managed to raise Dh45 million to help Syrians in need.

A delegation from the RCA will leave for Jordan by Friday to begin distributing aid.

"One Red Crescent delegation has been in Jordan for about a week now," said Khaula Al Houqani, the spokeswoman for the aid group. "Its job was to assess the situation of the displaced and appraise their needs."

The UN estimates more than 25,000 people have fled Syria. More than 3,000 refugees are thought to be in Jordan and more than double that number in Lebanon.

"There are no exact figures from the specialised international agencies regarding the number of displaced people," said Ms Al Houqani.

"In fact, there are mixed reports given the sensitive situation in the area. But the RCA intends to cater to the needs of as many people as possible displaced in Jordan and Lebanon."

The first team met other aid workers and displaced people in the Mafraq and Ramtha refugee camps at the Jordan and Syria borders to compile its reports.

The RCA will also travel to Lebanon to assess needs there.

Fahad Abdul Rahman bin Sultan, the head of the UAE delegation in Jordan, told the state news agency Wam: "Refugees need food and medicines but priority should be given to shelter needs at present due to the cold weather in these mountainous regions."

Ms Al Houqani said the delegation would use funds raised to buy relief materials in Jordan and Lebanon, explaining it was cheaper to buy from the local markets than shipping or flying the items from the UAE.

She urged residents to continue to donate relief items, especially cash.

pkannan@thenational.ae