A Syrian woman hangs laundry at a temporary refugee camp in the village of Ain Issa, housing people who fled Raqqah, March 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The United Nations has warned about the “desperate” plight of millions of people displaced in the aftermath of the six-year-long Syrian conflict as international funds are drying up and urgent assistance is needed for life-saving support to the refugees.
“The situation is getting desperate,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said in a joint statement with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as the “Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” opened on Tuesday.
The 28-nation European Union, with Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar, Britain and the United Nations, are co-chairing the conference.
It will reportedly “consider the prospects for post-agreement assistance once a genuinely inclusive political transition is firmly underway inside Syria.”
The conference opened on Tuesday with a series of workshops, and is scheduled to be followed by a formal session on Wednesday.
“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,” Grandi added.
The UNHCR and UNDP said they, together with aid groups and governments, are “extremely concerned by the current low funding levels of the response to help millions of Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them.”
Syrian refugees are seen at Zaatari camp, which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border with war-ravaged Syria, March 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The world agencies noted that 4.7 billion euros are required to help Syrian refugees, stressing that only 433 million euros or just nine percent of the total figure have been pledged so far.
“Without additional funding, all areas of assistance will be curtailed this year,” the UNHCR and UNDP warned.
“Food and cash assistance will be reduced or cut by mid-year, challenging stability and security in the region,” they added.
The UNHCR said in a statement on March 30 that the number of refugees, who have fled the foreign-backed militancy in Syria, has now gone beyond the five million mark.
Turkey continues to host the highest number of Syrian refugees. It saw an increase of 47,000 Syrian refugees since February, which brought the total figure to 2.97 million.
Lebanon has over a million Syrian refugees, while Jordan is hosting 657,000 ones.
Iraq, Egypt and other North African countries have also taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrians. A large number of Syrians have also fled to Europe.
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