“The winter emergency is making the ceaseless humanitarian effort by the international community even more vital and Italy intends to play its part”. That was how Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi commented on the arrival of a new delivery of aid from Italian Development Cooperation for the victims of the Syrian conflict in Turkey. The containers, which were sent from the Humanitarian Depot in Brindisi, arrived near the Turkish-Syrian border this morning, 28 December 2012. The delivery included a field clinic, funded by the Foreign Ministry’s Directorate General for Political Affairs, which will be located in the security zone on the border to provide initial treatment for Syrian refugees. Also included were 40 tons of humanitarian supplies such as generators, fuel, and health kits, and 3 ambulances donated by the Association of Free Syrians in Italy (Associazione Liberi Siriani in Italia – ASLI).
The supplies will be delivered to the Coalition that was recently recognised as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people. They will help relieve the suffering of the thousand of refugees crowded into the liberated zones near the border with Turkey.
40,000 victims, 1.2 million displaced persons
The ever-worsening tragedy is affecting over 2.5 million Syrians and to date has caused about 40,000 victims, with 1.2 displaced persons within Syria and over 500,000 refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries. The winter weather is only increasing their difficulties, especially among the weakest segments of the population, such as women and children, on whom the Italian intervention is focusing.
Italian Development Cooperation assistance programmes
Italian Development Cooperation has also launched an assistance programme that will be implemented directly in Damascus thanks to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), the only organisation legitimised and able to operate in Syria. The programme will see the distribution of powdered milk to new-borns and babies up to one year of age. To ensure that the babies do not succumb to infections, given the poor quality of the city’s water supply, the milk will be distributed under close supervision by doctors and paeditricians.
In the coming days Italian Development Cooperation will also be providing the refugees in the liberated areas with three containers of food supplies including pasta, rice, flour and vegetable oil, which the ASLI helped to collect.
Lastly, container-homes specially fitted out for the winter will be purchased using about €250,000 in Development Cooperation funding. These will be donated to Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp in Jordan.