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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards US$1 million to the UNHCR to support Syrian refugees
Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue October 27, 2015 9:52 am

INTERNATIONAL. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces that it has awarded US$1 million to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to help address the most pressing needs arising from the unprecedented influx of refugees into Europe.

The funding brings the foundation’s support for refugees and internally displaced people, arising from the Middle East’s current conflicts, to a total of US$17.5 million since 2013. This has included support to partners’ work in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Gaza, to respond to the multiple crises that have affected the region during the period.

The various grants have focused on emergency aid, improving child health, reducing preventable disease outbreaks and identifying sanitation solutions. 

Joe Cerrell, Managing Director of Donor Government Relations at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said: “The Middle East region has gone through unprecedented turmoil in recent years, and as always in these situations, the biggest victims are civilians.

Where possible, we try to use our funding to find smart solutions to these emergency needs, drawing on the experience the Gates Foundation has from across its development work. While emergency relief is not a core part of our work, given the foundation’s focus on long-term development programs, the recent crises in the Middle East require exceptional efforts. We hope other donors also will contribute wherever they can to help.”

Vincent Cochetel, Director of UNHCR Bureau for Europe and Regional Refugee Coordinator for the emergency in Europe said: “The generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to assist Syrian refugees comes at a critical time, when Europe is experiencing the largest influx of refugees in decades.

This contribution will help UNHCR's efforts, in coordination with national authorities and partners, to provide much needed shelter, water and sanitation, and health assistance to those who have been forced to flee their homes and are seeking safety in Europe. The drop in temperatures and the lack of adequate shelter as winter approaches adds to the urgency of response, and this timely support will help UNHCR to fill the gaps in critical locations and provide assistance to those in need.”

The latest grant to UNHCR represents a critical infusion of resources that will allow the agency tasked with caring for refugees to rapidly expand operations and meet the growing needs of the affected populations in light of these extraordinary circumstances. These funds will enable UNHCR, in partnership with government agencies and NGOs, to provide life-saving support to refugees arriving in Europe, including the provision of protection services that help new arrivals navigate the transit process and understand their legal rights.

Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

Over recent years, the Foundation has expanded its work in the Middle East, partnering with other donors and development institutions in the GCC. In June 2015, the Foundation and the Islamic Development Bank jointly launched the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, a $2.5 billion five-year development fund for lower income countries in the Muslim world.

Photo Caption: Joe Cerrell, Managing Director of Donor Government Relations at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



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