RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN ARABNEWS.COM
Published — Friday 28 March 2014
The Kingdom and the European Union plan to develop a joint strategy to improve humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) would send a special team to Brussels to discuss ways to help displaced people in affected countries, said Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, who was on a day’s visit to the capital.
She told Arab News that the Syrian refugee problem was the most serious humanitarian emergency in the past 10 years.
Georgieva held talks with Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, Yusuf Al-Basam, vice chairman of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), and officials from the GCC General Secretariat.
“The Syrian war is expected to lead to the world’s largest refugee crisis surpassing Afghanistan, which has had the highest number of refugees for the past two decades,” she said.
The three-year conflict has affected about 10 million people, with 6.5 million displaced inside Syria and over 2.5 million in neighboring countries.
Georgieva had on Tuesday attended an international meeting in Dubai focusing on humanitarian issues and women. The meeting looked at various ways to help women including providing jobs, security, training and funding for businesses.
She said Syria’s elderly, women and children were the most vulnerable victims of the war. Over 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives, with civilians making up two-thirds of this total. She said a further 250,000 Syrians, from both sides of the divide, are trapped in besieged areas.
Almost 5.5 million children, of whom 1.2 million are refugees, have been affected by the war.
She said that European countries have spent $3.5 billion over the past three years to help Syria’s refugees. A total of $1.2 billion has been allocated for this year.