MOS McHugh with officials from various UN agencies at the Za'atari camp in Jordan
Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Joe McHugh T.D. is in Jordan and Lebanon this week. During his five day visit, he is meeting with counterparts in in Jordan and Lebanon and visiting refugee camps to experience first-hand how Irish Aid is working with communities on the ground. Jordan and Lebanon have felt the impact of the crisis in neighbouring Syria, and are hosting 1 million and 655,000 Syrian refugees respectively. The Minister will meet with representatives of several organisations we are working with on the ground, including UNIFIL, UNOCHA, Concern and Trocaire. He will also announce €3m in additional funding to deal with the impact of the Syrian crisis in Jordan and Lebanon bringing Ireland’s total financial contribution to dealing with the effects of the crisis in Syria to over €70million since 2012.
On Tuesday Minister McHugh travelled to the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, 50km from the Syrian border. The camp was set up in 2012 to respond to Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict and currently hosts 80,000 refugees of which 30,000 are children. The camp is catering for the longer term needs of the residents and is now home to over 3,000 informal shops and businesses. The Minister discussed the situation in the camp with representatives of UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and SRAD. He then met some of the residents of the camp and visited projects by Irish Aid partner organisations including the ICRC family reunification centre, a medical centre operated by UNHCR and a school being run by UNICEF. All these projects have received Irish funding and are being run by Irish Aid donor partners. This video shows some of the scenes of daily life in the camp, as well as the briefing meetings between partner organisations and Minister Mc Hugh and Irish Ambassador to Jordan and Lebanon H.E. Damien Cole, who is resident in Cairo.
During his visit, Minister McHugh will also meet with the 336 Irish troops from the 109th Infantry Battalion who are currently serving with the UN peace-keeping force, UNIFIL, in Southern Lebanon, and announce that funding to UNIFIL projects for 2017 will be doubled from €40,000 to €80,000. The Minister will also travel to Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, and meet with UNRWA representatives working with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, as well as visiting projects funded by Irish Aid through Trocaire and Concern.
While in Shantila he will have the opportunity to view the work funded by Irish Aid through Trocaire. Following this he will visit projects being implemented by Concern supported by Irish Aid funding. These projects include a sanitation programme to informal tent settlements, a homework support programme and a house renovation programme.