Statement on Irish Contribution to UNHCR Funding for Kosovo
The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell TD, has confirmed that the Irish Government has already made a contribution of IR£400,000 to the UNHCR for the Kosovan humanitarian crisis. This payment - which was made on 28th April - was part of an overall contribution by the government of 2.6m to UN agencies, the International Red Cross, the Irish Red Cross and Irish NGO's.
The Minister said she wished to clear up some confusion which had arisen in media reports over the last 24 hours.
"Clearly more money is needed by UNHCR as it struggles to deal with the greatest mobilisation of resources requested this decade. Ireland is playing its part and we are in daily contact with the UNHCR and aid agencies in the region and will be responding further by way of contributions".
The Minister said that the scale of the humanitarian crisis was already self-evident. She herself will be assessing the situation when she visits Macedonia shortly.
"In the first four weeks of the operation, the target population of refugees went from 100,000 to 950,000. Kosovo is being emptied systematically and brutally. In three days last week, 37,000 more refugees arrived in the bordering countries. The camps and host families in Macedonia, in particular, now contain 240,000 people. Fragile, poor and unprepared countries are struggling to cope with the fastest and largest movement of refugees in 20th century Europe," she added.
The Minister confirmed that Ireland would continue to respond generously both in assisting refugees in the region and in bringing people to Ireland in the coming period.