China completes $2 million program for Syrian refugees in Kurdistan
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – China's Ambassador to Iraq visited a UN office in Baghdad to mark the completion of a program to support Syrian refugees in Iraq funded by his country and hinted at future support.
The project, implemented in 2016 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and at a cost of $2 million to China, upgraded essential services in refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
“Together with UNHCR, China has tried to provide protection and assistance to Syrian refugees in Iraq,” said Ambassador Chen Weiqing, adding, “We will continue to attach great importance to supporting UNHCR combat the humanitarian crisis.”
A statement by the UN refugee agency released that day said that hygiene and sanitation services were improved as a result of the project, as was access to clean water; social and recreational facilities for camp residents were rehabilitated and new staff were trained to manage the camps, including people selected from among the refugee population.
As a result of these activities, over 98,000 people continue to have access to clean drinking water, and over 1,200 families benefit from new sanitation facilities, said the statement.
According to the most recent UNHCR figures published, more than 246,000 Syrian refugees are currently in Iraq, of which more than 200,000 are in the Kurdistan Region.
The statement continued, "We in UNHCR look forward to continuing to collaborate with China to support Syrian refugees as the conflict continues unabated in their country of origin."
In mid-March, a statement released by the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) announced that its Chancellor Masrour Barzani, during a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador, had expressed his hope that China "would play a greater role to help address deep-rooted problems and deliver more stability in the Middle East."