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Ambassador: Czech aid to Jordan limits refugee wave

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Prague, Sept 1 (CTK) – The Czech humanitarian aid in Jordan helps thousands of refugees from Syria, thanks to which they are less motivated to continue with their migration to Europe, Czech ambassador to Jordan Petr Hladik told CTK on Friday.

Hladik said the good name the Czech Republic had thanks to the provided aid also improved conditions for the Czech companies that wanted to export to Jordan.

Last year, the Czech export rose by 62 percent. The Czech Republic provided humanitarian aid for 75 million crowns to Jordan and its volume has been growing.

“The main volume of the aid worth 40 million crowns was sent to the refugee camp in Azraq, the second biggest in Jordan,” Hladik said.

The money was used to renew the devastated refugee capacities in the camp.

“The project was so successful that this year it was also joined by the German government,” Hladik said.

Last year, the Czech Republic used another 25 million crowns within the programme MEDEVAC, which provides medical care to the victims of the conflicts, children in particular.

Hladik said that when he took up the post in 2013, six Syrian children were flown within the programme from the Jordanian refugee camps to surgeries in the Czech Republic, but now doctors worked right in the place, being able to treat around 1,000 patients.

“Instead of flying a handful of people to the Czech Republic, we have found out that it will be much more efficient to fly Czech doctors to Jordan where they can do the surgeries right in the place,” Hladik said.

“I am really proud of the Czech doctors because all of the surgeries have been successful. The doctors are doing excellent work, raising the awareness of the Czech Republic,” he added.

The MEDEVAC programme also helped open the Jordanian health market to Czech companies.

“Thanks to the project we were listed among the countries that can deliver health equipment to Jordanian state-run and military hospitals,” he added.

Czech humanitarian aid also serves integration of Syrian refugees into Jordanian society as the diplomacy prepares teaching programmes and helps build sports facilities.

“The reason of all of this is simple. Along with opening the doors to the business, we reduce the migration potential of these people. They came to Jordan and if they are a year without electricity and health care, they will logically start thinking of moving elsewhere,” Hladik said.

The economic aspect also has its importance. Last year, the Czech export to Jordan reached 1.4 billion crowns, having grown by 62 percent.

“This is my answer to whether humanitarian and development cooperation makes sense,” Hladik said.

“If it were not for political support, economic diplomacy projects, aid in refugee camps, there would not be this business,” he added.

The humanitarian situation in Jordan is still tense, Hladik said.

The seven-million country has a large integration ability and out of the 1.3 million Syrian refugees only some 150,000 live in the camps, while the rest found temporary homes in towns and villages.

At the same time, the Jordanian government limits the number of the arrivals because the capacity of the country has reached its limit, Hladik said.

Hladik said he knew from his own conversations with the people from the refugee camps that Syrians wanted to return home.

“For the head of a family, for an Arab man it is tremendously humiliating to be dependent on aid,” Hladik said.

“They really do not want to leave for Germany or stay in Jordan. They want to return to the place they know, where their homes are, having the respect, family and clan,” he added.

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