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International Olympic Committee sets up $2 million emergency aid fund for refugee crisis

Sporting organisations have joined hands to help reduce the biggest migrant crisis the world has seen since World War II.

News 06 Sep 2015, 09:35 IST
Syria tops the list in the ongoing migrant crisis

Pictures released of a drowned Syrian boy washing ashore in Turkey shocked the entire world this week. Since then sporting organisations have joined hands to help reduce the biggest migrant crisis the world has seen since World War II. 

The International Olympic Committee was quick to jump onto the funding bandwagon, joining European football clubs such as FC Porto in setting up an aid fund. The world sports governing body has allotted $2 million across various National Olympic Committees (NOC’s) for distribution purposes. The fund itself is made up of $ 1 million USD, with the rest of the money being raised by the Olympic Solidarity Commission. The interested NOC’s have been asked to submit proposals on how the money is going to be spent by the end of this week. 

IOC President Thomas Bach said on the organisation’s website, “We have all been touched by the terrible news and the heartbreaking stories in the past few days. With this terrible crisis unfolding across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, sport and the Olympic Movement wanted to play its part in bringing humanitarian help to the refugees. We made a quick decision that we needed to take action and to make this fund available immediately.” 

He added, “We know through experience that sport can ease the plight of refugees, many of them young people and children, be they in the Middle East, Africa, Europe or in other parts of the world.”

‘Giving is winning’

This funding comes in the wake of Europe’s inability to cater to the influx of refugees from Syria over the past few weeks. 

On Saturday, traditional La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid announced a support fund of $ 1.1 million to support refugees in Spain. Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich have planned on opening a training camp and offering linguistic training for refugees attempting to seek asylum. They also participated in a charity match, which garnered close to $1.15 USD for the migrants. 

The IOC is already working on a programme on refugee welfare with the United Nations. The programme, which is titled “Giving is winning”, has allowed Olympic athletes and sponsors to donate clothes to thousand of refugees around the world.

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