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IOC creates $2 million aid fund to assist migrants

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By Hugo Lowell
IOC creates $2 million aid fund to assist migrants

The International Olympic Committee announced Friday the creation of a two million dollar fund that will help refugees as the migrant crisis continues in Europe.

Thousands of migrants, fleeing escalating violence in Syria, have made the perilous journey in recent weeks through Greece and Turkey to reach central Europe.

“We have all been touched by the terrible news and the heartbreaking stories in the past few days,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

“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 said.

The fund, comprised of one million dollars from the IOC and a further million from the Olympic Solidarity programme, will be distributed through projects proposed by National Olympic Committees.

The IOC confirmed that the whole process would be done “extremely quickly” given the nature of the crisis, and would work actively on the ground “to get help to where it is needed most urgently.”

“We know through experience that sport can ease the plight of refugees, many of them young people and children,” added Bach.

“Our thoughts are with the many refugees risking their lives and the lives of their families to escape danger.”

The IOC is the latest sports body to offer assistance in the European migrant crisis. German football club Bayern Munich on Thursday announced their intention to set up a training camp and raise one million euros in aid, while several other sports teams have also announced similar schemes to tackle the ongoing issue.