News / Middle East

Lack of Funds Limits Aid to Displaced Syrians

Syrian families await their turn to register at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, April 3, 2014.
Syrian families await their turn to register at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, April 3, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations reports its multi-billion dollar appeal to assist millions of Syrians displaced by conflict remains seriously underfunded. The U.N. warns this funding shortfall is triggering tensions between refugees and the communities hosting them.
Syrian Refugees by Country
 
  • Lebanon: 1,003,814
  • Turkey: 679,753
  • Jordan: 590,515
  • Iraq: 219,597
  • Egypt: 135,977

Source: UNHCR

In December, the United Nations appealed for a record $6.5 billion to assist some nine million Syrians displaced both within and outside their war-hit country. On Monday, the Kuwaiti government contributed $250 million to this U.N. Fund, with a promise of an additional $250 million in the near future.

Kuwait's generosity has boosted the money received by the United Nations to $1.27 billion. But this still leaves a shortfall of 80 percent. This lack of money is worsening the displacement crisis. U.N. agencies are unable to provide the food, water, shelter, medical and other care desperately needed by the victims of this three-year old civil war.

For example, the World Food Program reports it provided food to a record 4.1 million people displaced inside Syria in March. However, it adds these people have received reduced rations because of the funding shortfall.

On Saturday, one person was killed and dozens wounded during a violent demonstration in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says he hopes this is an isolated incident.

He tells VOA it is very important to make sure adequate assistance is provided to both refugee and local communities to keep tensions from rising

"One of the risks of situations like these is that the relationship between the refugee community and the local, national communities becomes more and more difficult as resources become scarce. Let us not forget that in Jordan, in Lebanon, in other countries, we have more and more people unemployed," he said. "We have more and more people with lower salaries because of the competition in the labor market. We have prices rising, rents rising and that the Syria crisis is having a dramatic impact in the economies and the societies of the neighboring countries."

Guterres says aid agencies are enormously frustrated at the lack of response by the international community to their plea for more money. He says everybody is frustrated at the lack of movement to end this war, which has displaced nearly half of Syria's population over the last three years.

He says everyone must understand there are no winners, only losers in this war.

"This is becoming not only a humanitarian tragedy, but a terrible threat for regional stability and for global peace and security and that those countries come together and find ways to make the parties forge peace," he said. "There is no military solution. The solution is political. There is no humanitarian solution. All we can do is to alleviate the plight of people suffering. All we can do is very little compared with the suffering of the Syrian people."

Guterres says the UNHCR had planned on assisting 4.1 million refugees until the end of the year. But, he agrees this number could escalate. He says he cannot forecast what will happen. This, he says, depends on the evolution of the conflict and on the attitudes of neighboring countries as more people flee across borders

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs