Syrian refugee regional plan remains 91% underfunded: UN

Indo Asian News Service

Geneva, April 4 (IANS) Two UN organisations on Tuesday warned of low funding for their ongoing support operations for Syrian refugees.

A statement released by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva said of a $4.63 billion pledge made in January, only $433 million or nine per cent funding has so far been achieved, Efe news reported.

"The situation is getting desperate," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees in a statement. "we are already seeing children who aren't able to go to school, families who cannot access adequate shelter or provide for their basic needs."

The statement coincided with a gathering of world players in Brussels for the Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.

As the Syrian conflict entered its seventh year, there were over five million Syrian refugees living in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, in addition to those who have made the dangerous journey to Europe and farther.

The statement said that overall, some 13.5 million people were in need of assistance, including 6.3 million within Syria itself.

The UN statement said that "without additional funding, all areas of assistance will be curtailed this year. Food and cash assistance will be reduced or cut by mid-year, challenging stability and security in the region."

The note also warned that with most Syrian refugees falling below national poverty lines, families would face the impossible choice of taking their children out of school, adding to the half a million children already missing out on education.

The international conference slated for Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels is co-presided by the European Union, the UN, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the UK.