Prague, March 7 (CTK) – Czech diplomacy spent more than 100 million crowns on humanitarian aid last year, and it plans to increase the budget of humanitarian projects to 130 million crowns this year, the Foreign Ministry told CTK yesterday.
In 2016, most of the money went to the victims of wars in Iraq, Syria and African countries. One-fifth of the budget was sent to the areas hit by natural disasters.
Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) will submit a report on humanitarian aid in 2016 to the government at its regular meeting on Wednesday.
Last year, the Foreign Ministry funded 38 projects in 25 countries.
The government of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) originally earmarked 73 million crowns for humanitarian aid. It released an additional 30.5 million for Lebanon during the year.
“More than 70 percent of the budget (73.5 million crowns) was spent on humanitarian aid connected with conflicts and displacement, primarily in Iraq and Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic,” the ministry said.
The Czech Republic also supported long-term displaced inhabitants in Burma, Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan and Palestinian refugees in Gaza.
Prague sent several supplies of medical material and powdered milk for children to Syria last year.
“We help build provisional dwellings, renew water supplies, provide fundamental and specialised health care and organise children’s education,” Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa, whose section is in charge of humanitarian aid, told CTK.
“The Czech Republic has provided a well targeted aid also thanks to the work of its embassy in Damascus,” Tlapa said, highlighting the role of the Czech embassy, which is the only diplomatic mission of an EU member state operating in Syria at present.
Besides, Prague allocated 20 million crowns to reconstruction projects after the disastrous floods in Burma, Macedonia and Sri Lanka.
Czechs also sent financial aid to the earthquake-hit localities in Nepal and Ecuador and to the fight with drought in south African countries.
The remaining 6.5 million crowns were divided among the programmes in aid of the countries and regions with long-term humanitarian problems, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Czech diplomacy wants to increase humanitarian aid spending to 130 million crowns this year.
“I expect a considerable part of the budget to be spent on support for refugees as well as internally displaced persons and countries hit by conflicts this year again,” Tlapa told CTK.