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UN: ‘Critical gap’ in Syria refugee aid

Syrians pass through Cilvegozu border gate to reach their hometown before Eid Al-Fitr in Reyhanli, Hatay on 21 June 2017 [Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency]
Syrians pass through Cilvegozu border gate to reach their hometown in Reyhanli, Hatay on 21 June 2017 [Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has received only 20 per cent of Syrian aid payments pledged this year, the agency’s director for the Middle East and North Africa Bureau and the regional refugee coordinator in Syria and Iraq announced yesterday.

Amin Awad said in a press conference in Jordan that the international community has promised $5.6 billion in aid for 5.5 million Syrian refugees in 2018.

“This is an urgent and critical appeal to international donors to disburse the money,” Awad stressed.

“We are already falling behind in providing cash assistance, in making sure we are picking up health bills, in supporting governments and municipalities to continue to give services to refugees,” he added

Read: 3.5m Syria refugees in Turkey

“Without the funds, aid agencies cannot be responsible for this number of refugees and this big number of host communities who have shown generosity during the last seven years,” the UN official stressed, adding that the international agency will also have to stop its educational and relief programmes.

Over half of Syria’s population have fled their homes since the outbreak of war in 2011 seeking safe shelters in neighbouring countries.

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