BERLIN, Nov. 08 (Press Shia Agency) – Germany pledged a 61-million-euro hike in funding for UN relief operations in Africa so that fewer of its people undertake perilous odysseys to Europe according to local authorities.
The extra funding lifts Germany’s total contribution to the UN refugee agency UNHCR to 298 million euros for 2016, Foreign Ministry officials said. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced the increase during a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Berlin.
Countries targeted by Germany’s move are ridden by chronic conflict, disastrous climate change and poverty.
“These countries urgently need our help,” Steinmeier said in a statement after the meeting with Grandi. “The money will allow people to be cared for near their homes so they don’t have to make the dangerous journey to Europe.”
Ministry officials said the additional pledged aid would benefit people especially in Burundi, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and neighbouring countries, as well as those affected by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in West Africa’s Chad region. UNHCR also helps migrants return to their home countries.
The International Organization for Migration said last week that 4,220 migrants had drowned in the Mediterranean this year.
The German Interior Ministry this weekend disclosed it was looking at plans to stop migrants from ever reaching Europe’s Mediterranean coast by picking them up at sea and returning them to Africa.
Germany plans to welcome this year around 300 thousand of political asylum requests from 890 thousand people who arrived in 2015, according to the Federal Oficce for those matters.
PL-3/Press Shia Agency