UNHCR warns funding cuts threaten aid to Syrian refugees

Geneva, (IINA) – The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned that vital assistance for millions of refugees and the communities hosting them could face substantial cuts due to a lack of funding.

“The situation is getting desperate,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement. “We are already seeing children who aren’t able to go to school, families who cannot access adequate shelter or provide for their basic needs.

The ongoing conflict remains the largest displacement crisis in the world. However, despite the growing needs of those forced to flee their homes, many are instead facing potential cuts to services because of a lack of funding.

An appeal for the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2017 was launched in January, seeking $4.63 billion. So far, only $433 million, or 9% of the funding sought, has been received, aggravating an already precarious situation.

“We recognize and applaud the donations made so far, but the simple truth is that funding isn’t keeping up with needs,” Grandi said.

Last year’s plan received just 63% of the $4.54 billion requested. This has left Syrian refugees, over 70% of whom are women and children, facing the prospect of deep cuts to health, shelter, protection and other services.

The warning came as a major international conference on Syria got underway in Brussels, aiming to end six years of bloody war, but serious flare-ups of fighting continue on the ground.

The Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region also comes at a time of growing humanitarian need, with 13.5 million people requiring assistance within Syria, including 6.3 million internally displaced people, and over five million refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries.

Source: International Islamic News Agency