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Source: Switzerland
6 September 2006

Swiss Goverment grants extra aid to victims of Middle East conflict

Berne, 06.09.2006
- Switzerland is to boost its aid to people affected by the conflict in the Middle East. At the request of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Federal Council today approved an additional credit of CHF 20 million. This will enable Switzerland to extend its humanitarian aid to Lebanon, as well as to Gaza and the West Bank. The Federal Council also approved a CHF 2.4 million credit to cover the costs of the fast and efficient repatriation of Swiss citizens from Lebanon.

At an extraordinary session on the Middle East situation, on 26 July 2006, the Swiss Federal Council had already granted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the sum of CHF 5 million for emergency humanitarian aid. However, the return home of large numbers of refugees does not solve their problems. In particular there is a huge need for accommodation for displaced and homeless people. Hence the Federal Council has today voted an additional sum of CHF 15 million in essential, emergency humanitarian aid to this region in conflict.

The aid is earmarked for women, children and young people as a priority. One-third of the available money is reserved for refugees in the Palestinian occupied territories. To ensure that the grant money is distributed as reliably as possible in difficult conditions, the Swiss aid will be routed to people in need via three channels: the ICRC, the UN organizations (WFP, UNHCR, OCHA and others) and bilateral projects in partnership with local non-governmental organizations, with which the DFA's Development and Co-Operation Directorate has been working for a long time.

During the armed conflict in Lebanon, DFA specialists helped over 900 Swiss citizens who wanted to leave the country. The Federal Council has granted an extra credit of CHF 2.4 million to cover the extra costs incurred in these operations.

For information please contact:
Press and Information Service
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Berne
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47 / 48

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