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Rapid assistance in emergencies

// Ukraine, Jordan, Northern Iraq, South Sudan

Refugee assistance

| ‘Fighting the causes of refugee move-

ments, reintegrating refugees’. This special initiative of the

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and

Development (BMZ), launched at the start of 2014, spot-

lights a priority of German policy. GIZ is involved in

numerous activities to support the German Government

and BMZ in realising these objectives.

One example can be seen in eastern Ukraine. Military

clashes in this area have forced thousands of people to flee

their homes. The situation was especially critical at the end

of 2014. With winter looming, many people were forced to

leave everything behind as they fled for their lives. The Ger-

man Government was quick to respond and commissioned

GIZ to transport relief supplies worth almost

EUR 7.5 million to eastern Ukraine. The sup-

plies included camp beds, heaters, emergency

power units, construction machinery and

equipment, and medical supplies. Another

EUR 2 million was used in Ukraine to pur-

chase furniture, winter clothing and house-

hold appliances, thus also supporting the local

economy. This emergency aid was flanked by a

BMZ commission to GIZ to erect accommodation for

up to 4,600 displaced persons within the space of only a few

weeks. The housing had to be sufficiently robust to with-

stand the Ukrainian winter. The local Ukrainian municipal-

ities then installed electricity, drinking water and sanitation

facilities. By the end of 2014, most of the seven new transi-

tional settlements were completed, offering a total of almost

1,400 housing units in three districts in the east of the

country. GIZ worked closely with the German and Ukrai-

nian Red Cross, the Ukrainian disaster relief authorities and

the local authorities in eastern Ukraine.

In the predominantly Kurdish area in the north of

Iraq too, many people have fled their homes to escape the

civil war and the organised terrorism of ‘Islamic State’.

The United Nations estimates that 2.1 million internally

displaced persons are in the region. Although the readiness

of the local population to help is huge, in many places the

new arrivals now outnumber the original population. The

local authorities are stretched to breaking point. The inter-

national community has responded swiftly and set up many

refugee camps each offering accommodation for up

to 50,000 people. In Dohuk region, GIZ is work-

ing in six camps, where we are supporting the

Kurdish authorities on behalf of BMZ in

establishing the necessary infrastructure. GIZ

is cooperating closely with UNICEF and the

German non-governmental organisation Welt-

hungerhilfe. So much is needed: schools, social

facilities, health stations and community centres are

being built and fitted out, drinking water and electricity

connections installed and sanitation facilities put in place.

The everyday interactions between the people living there

also have to be organised. Numerous social services

are needed in addition to material assistance to prevent con-

flicts: from hygiene training to psychological counselling for

extended families, from football tournaments and games

afternoons for children to literacy and English courses for

women. Support also benefits the population of the host dis-

tricts. Accommodation in the refugee camps and unfinished

buildings in the surrounding settlements are being reinforced

so that they can withstand winter conditions.

As in northern Iraq, a large number of Syrian refu-

gees are also seeking refuge in Jordan. The country and its

population of 6.5 million have already taken in more than

600,000 refugees, about 80 per cent of whom have found a

temporary home in Jordanian towns and villages. Many

places have seen their population double. A pragmatic way

of integrating the new arrivals is to provide vocational

training, in plumbing for instance. Supplying water to its

people is one of the most urgent problems facing Jordan.

As much as 40 per cent of the country’s scarce and precious

water is lost in transport due to dilapidated pipelines.

Incorrectly installed water pipes in residential buildings are

a serious part of this problem. This means that well trained

plumbers are very much in demand. A BMZ-financed

training programme is now also open to Syrian refugees.

The skills they acquire are useful to their Jordanian hosts,

and when they one day return home these skills will be a

valuable foundation on which to build their new liveli-


In South Sudan, the most urgent problem is the

extremely serious food situation in the wake of the civil war

that erupted at the end of 2013. Many people are in a des-

perate situation, having been forced to flee their villages and

towns. It is estimated that the country has 1.4 million inter-

nally displaced persons. Most of them have lost everything

and depend on assistance. They have no safe water, no food

and no roof over their heads. The result is that tropical dis-

eases like malaria and infections such as cholera are threat-

ening their lives. The critical security situation meant that

aid measures could not begin until mid-2014. GIZ modified

its project activities and with additional BMZ funding is

now also implementing three projects under the auspices of

the special initiative ‘Fighting the causes of refugee move-

ments, reintegrating refugees’. So far these projects have

helped more than one million people. Small farmers in the

fertile south of the country have been supplied with seed so

that they can produce more food. The construction of sani-

tation facilities, the supply of drinking water in tanks and

canisters and the provision of chlorine tablets has helped

prevent cholera infections. In all our activities we work

closely with UNICEF, the United Nations Food and Agri-

culture Organization (FAO) the World Food Programme

(WFP) and non-governmental organisations such as Welt-

hungerhilfe. The World Food Programme buys food pro-

duced in the south of the country for the people forced to

live in refugee camps in the north, and distributes the food

within the camps. Measures of this sort, and vaccinations

for cattle to stabilise stocks, are securing the livelihoods of

small farmers and internally displaced persons, and help put

in place long-term distribution structures for agricultural




accommodation for


refugees in

eastern Ukraine

GIZ Integrated Company Report 2014



Providing security