UAE to provide Syria with additional $50 million in aid after deadly earthquakes
The UAE will provide an additional $50 million in aid to quake-hit Syria on the direction of President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
The latest fund allocation will add to the existing $50 million to the war-torn Middle Eastern country that saw a deadly 7.8 magnitude quake followed by an aftershock destroy homes and take lives earlier this month.
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Out of the additional $50 million, $20 million will be allocated for “humanitarian projects in response to the emergency appeal of the United Nations in Syria,” the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Wednesday.
The projects will reportedly be carried out in coordination with the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Since 2011, the conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes, with many seeking refuge in Turkey.
Even before last week’s earthquake, the majority of the population was in need of humanitarian assistance. The latest disaster has piled on more misery. Opposition-controlled areas have received little assistance as frontlines with the government are sealed off and only a single border crossing links it to Turkey to the north.
The UAE has so far sent 38 flights to Syria carrying 1,243 metric tonnes of food and medical aid, 2,893 tents that can shelter nearly 20,000 people, and 42 rescuers.
Ties between Damascus and Abu Dhabi were strained after the Syrian civil war broke out more than a decade ago. Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League over the conflict.
The UAE reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital in December 2018, suggesting an effort to bring Assad’s regime back into the Arab fold after years of boycott.
Last March, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a visit to the UAE, his first to an Arab state in more than a decade.
More than 41,000 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria when the devastating quakes hit the countries on February 6, destroying entire villages and injuring hundreds of thousands.
The UAE has sent a total of 70 flights to both affected countries. In the aftermath of the quake, the UAE also sent rescue teams to help recover people trapped underneath toppled buildings.
Several relief campaigns have also been set up across the emirates to collect donations as well as aid to send to the two countries.
The Gulf country also recently opened a field hospital in Turkey’s Gaziantep with an inpatient ward comprising 50 beds, operating rooms and a medical team of 75 doctors, nurses and assistants.
Another 200-bed hospital was recently completed in Turkey’s Hatay province.
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