Aid Crisis Grips UNHCR

A shortfall of $58.45 million funding, coupled with this year’s recent growth in the number of internally displaced persons, may leave about 1 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees without proper help.

This is coming just as winter approaches, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR has said.

Despite the fact that about $154 million has been invested on winter aid by the commission, the reduction in funding has been identified as a factor capable of affecting programmes of the commission in the coming days.

“The shortfall affects our winter preparedness programmes, although we have already invested $154 million on winter aid for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced, and it means that the UNHCR is having to make some very tough choices over who to prioritize,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR chief spokesperson said in Geneva, Switzerland.

The UNHCR is currently considering the elevation of refugee settlements, the composition of the family unit including number of children and female-headed households, shelter conditions and other considerations.

“I wish we could support everybody and I wish we could give everybody more. The reality is that the population moved and continues to move quickly in 2014 and the funding continues to trickle in slowly,” Amin Awad, director of UNHCR’s Middle East and North Africa Bureau lamented.

While the problem is most acute in Iraq and Syria, there are also needs in other parts of the region. This will be the fourth winter away from their homes for many Syrian refugees and the first for the 1.9 million Iraqis who have become internally displaced this year, a statement on the commission website said on November 11.

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