UN and partners launch $4.4 billion regional appeal for more than five million Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees at an informal settlement in Lebanon carry aid items, including wood to strengthen their shelters for winter. Photo: UNHCR/I. Prickett

12 December 2017 – A more than $4 billion appeal has been launched to support what one senior United Nations official called on Tuesday “a lost generation” of Syrian refugees caught up in the ongoing conflict.

Well over five million Syrians need help, according to Amin Awad, the Director for the Middle East and North Africa of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

He added that nearly four million people in countries neighbouring Syria including Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq also need relief after years spent supporting those displaced since fighting began in 2011.

“Syria remainuncontested the biggest humanitarian crisis of out time. Seven million inside plus 5.3 million outside; 12.3 million people. Another 10 million who stayed put in Syria did not leave their homes but they are cut off. They're cut off (from) livelihoods, services in education, health, separated from relatives, friends and they are in need also of humanitarian assistance. The whole nation is in need of humanitarian assistance,” Mr. Awad explained.

The UNHCR official said that the situation of 1.7 million Syrian refugee children was particularly worrying, as more than four in 10 are out of school.

Supplying the 5.3 million refugees with enough food to eat is also critical, Mr. Awad added, given that insufficient funding in 2015 coincided with one million Syrians risking their lives as they went in search of shelter in western Europe.

“We are urging the international community and the donors in particular for many reasons: one, the vast number of refugees that we have in the region, the geopolitical status of that region, the risk that 5.3 million people can bring to an area, a small region already as volatile as it is if there is no assistance. We have had the experience of 2015 and we should not repeat that. I think we should meet the needs of these refugees in a timely manner as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Awad.


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