GENEVA - The United Nations is appealing for $4.63 billion to assist nearly five million Syrian refugees and millions of people hosting them in neighboring countries. The appeal is being launched in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on behalf of U.N. agencies and 40 non-governmental organizations.
The United Nations plans to provide life-saving assistance to more than 4.7 million Syrian refugees. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi says the appeal also will support 4.4 million people hosting them in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
“So, even if Syrians have stopped arriving in Europe in any significant numbers, I hope that everybody realizes that the Syrian refugee crisis has not gone away and continues to affect millions of host communities and continues to be a tragic situation for millions of Syrians,” he said.
Grandi says most Syrian refugees fall below the poverty line and struggle to afford food, rent, health care and other essentials. He notes 70 percent of those in need are women and children. He says many of the host communities helping the refugees also are impoverished and in need of assistance.
Syria will enter its sixth year of war in March, about the same length of time as the whole of World War II. U.N. emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien calls Syria one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.
“The crisis in Syria remains one of the most complex and volatile and violent in the world," he said. "Currently, 13.5 million women, children and men are in urgent need of humanitarian and protection assistance. Of course, we fear that it will get worse and even if peace was to take place from tonight, the humanitarian needs within Syria would continue for a good time to come.”
The United Nations is in the process of finalizing an upcoming appeal for $3.4 billion. The United Nations estimates that amount will be required to meet the humanitarian needs of the 13.5 million destitute people within Syria this year.