£10m in aid for Raqqa ‘life­line’

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

BRI­TAIN has an­nounced a £10m aid pack­age to end the “death sen­tence” in­no­cent peo­ple in the lib­er­ated Syr­ian city of Raqqa still face from Is­lamic State (IS) booby-traps and war wounds.

The city, de­scribed by the Govern­ment as “the head of the snake” of the so-called caliphate claimed by IS, was for­mally lib­er­ated on Fri­day when a group of mili­tia fac­tions, de­clared vic­tory over the group.

In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Priti Pa­tel called on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to fol­low the UK in help­ing the hun­dreds of thou­sands who were forced to leave with noth­ing and are suf­fer­ing lifethreat­en­ing in­juries and trauma af­ter years of vi­o­lence, bomb­ing and land­mines across the city.

Oth­ers have been held hostage by IS, also known as Daesh, or forced into hid­ing.

The UK money will help clear land­mines and re­stock hospi­tals so dis­placed Syr­i­ans can even­tu­ally re­turn home and those in the city can re­build their lives.

Ms Pa­tel said: “Daesh’s iron grip on the city of Raqqa has stolen the lives of too many in­no­cent peo­ple and now that this evil regime has been driven out, it is ab­so­lutely cru­cial that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity helps them.

“Af­ter years of bar­baric and in­dis­crim­i­nate vi­o­lence by Daesh, the lib­er­a­tion of Raqqa of­fers a glim­mer of hope – but de­fence­less men, women and chil­dren still face a bru­tal death from lethal land­mines or wounds

“UK aid is pro­vid­ing a life­line for count­less Syr­i­ans who have lost ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing.” The Bri­tish aid pack­age will: Clear land­mines and lethal ex­plo­sives;

Re­stock hospi­tals and mo­bile sur­gi­cal units with medicines and equip­ment;

Pro­vide 145,000 med­i­cal con­sul­ta­tions, in­clud­ing for the wounded and starv­ing, and psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port for 1,600 peo­ple trau­ma­tised by the hor­ror of war;

Pro­vide 31,000 re­lief kits, in­clud­ing cook­ing equip­ment and blan­kets for dis­placed peo­ple;

Im­prove ac­cess to clean wa­ter for 15,000, with jerry cans and wa­ter-pu­ri­fy­ing tablets to pre­vent dis­ease; and,

Help preg­nant women with 1,000 clean de­liv­ery kits.

The aid will be de­liv­ered by Bri­tish part­ners al­ready work­ing in Syria.

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