UN agency ‘broke’ as Syria refugee funds run out

UN agency has said it will soon be unable to pro­vide “life-​saving” aid to Syr­ian refugees in Jor­dan and other coun­tries due to funds run­ning out.

“The needs are ris­ing expo­nen­tially and we are broke,” said Mar­ixie Mer­cado, a spokes­woman for children’s char­ity Unicef.

Some 1.2 mil­lion Syr­i­ans have fled since the upris­ing began in March 2011.


Around 385,500 have escaped to Jor­dan, with fig­ures set to triple by the end of the year, Ms Mer­cado said.

This would bring the num­ber of Syr­ian refugees there close to 1.2 mil­lion — the equiv­a­lent of one-​fifth of Jordan’s total population.

“Since the begin­ning of year, more than 2000 refugees have streamed across the bor­der [into Jor­dan] every day,” Ms Mer­cado told reporters at a UN news con­fer­ence in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday.

“We expect these num­bers to more than dou­ble by July and triple by December.”

Many of the refugees are chil­dren, the spokes­woman added.


Unicef is cur­rently pro­vid­ing water, san­i­ta­tion, vac­cines, edu­ca­tion and other essen­tial ser­vices in Jordan’s Zaatari camp, which houses nearly 150,000 refugees.

So far the agency has only received $12m (£7.8m), or 19%, of the $57m it appealed for to fund its Jor­dan oper­a­tions this year.

As a result, it will soon need to “scale back life-​saving sup­port”, Ms Mer­cado said.

“In con­crete terms, this means that by June, we will stop deliv­er­ing 3.5m litres of water every day to Zaatari camp.”

She added that the money short­age also meant Unicef would be unable to pro­vide sup­plies to two new camps slated to open in the com­ing weeks.

UN offi­cials said the lack of fund­ing did not only apply to Jor­dan, but also to other coun­tries host­ing large num­bers of Syr­ian refugees, includ­ing Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

The head of the UN’s refugee agency, UNHRC, echoed Ms Mercado’s warn­ing, say­ing Syria’s con­flict was on the verge of over­whelm­ing the UN.

“This is the type of cri­sis that human­i­tar­ian agen­cies at some point can­not han­dle,” Fil­ippo Grandi told New York Times on Thursday.

“It is unman­age­able and dangerous.”

The UN esti­mates that at least 70,000 peo­ple have been killed in Syria since the upris­ing against Pres­i­dent Bashar al-​Assad began, just over two years ago.

Source: BBC — Mid­dle East

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