Germany Gives Aid to Refugees in Iran

Germany Gives Aid to Refugees in IranGermany Gives Aid to Refugees in Iran

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Monday, August 1, received a contribution of euro 2 million (approximately $2.3 million) from Germany to provide food assistance to Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in Iran and promote education for refugee girls.

“These funds will help us serve extremely vulnerable refugees, especially women and children,” said WFP Iran director, Negar Gerami.

“We hope the international community increases its support to refugees in Iran since many of them rely on WFP assistance for their daily food needs,” she said, reports.

WFP provides 30,000 of the most vulnerable refugees in Iran with a monthly ration of basic food items including bread, rice, sugar, lentils and vegetable oil. In addition, WFP provides a take-home ration of vegetable oil to 3,000 refugee schoolgirls and their female teachers in 19 settlements across the country. The take-home ration is a strong incentive for parents to send their daughters to school, which helps promote girls’ education and bridge the gender gap.

Germany’s contribution will be used to buy 2,156 metric tons of fortified wheat flour, 194 metric tons of vegetable oil enriched with vitamins, 186 metric tons of lentils and 321 metric tons of rice for distribution among Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in settlements across Iran. Most of this food will be purchased locally to ensure speedy delivery and conformity with Iranian standards.

This year, Germany has doubled its contribution to WFP in Iran, making it one of WFP’s top donors in the country.

“During the past 12 months the issue of refugees has sadly become an even greater concern for the international community than before. The German government greatly deplores the plight of millions of refugees fleeing war and conflict,” said German Ambassador to Tehran Michael Von Ungern-Sternberg.

  Deserving Int’l Recognition

“Iran has accepted many refugees from neighboring countries, in particular from Afghanistan. For this, the government of Iran deserves international recognition. Germany wants to support this policy through, among other means, contributing to WFP’s vital assistance programs for refugees in Iran.”

Iran hosts the world’s fourth largest refugee population, following Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon, with nearly 980,000 registered Afghan, and Iraqi refugees, in the country.

Millions of Afghans live and work in Iran, legally and illegally, despite the efforts of the government and the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to repatriate them. Most took refuge in Iran either after the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, or following the Afghan civil war in the 1990s and the US-led invasion in 2001.

During these decades Iran was host to nearly four million Afghan refugees. At present there are 3 million Afghan refugees of whom only 1 million have legal refugee status.

WFP has been providing assistance to the refugees since the arrival of the first asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iraq in the late 1980s.