Humanitarian and development assistance efforts for 3.9 million Syrian refugees and more than 20 million people living in in neighbouring countries are in serious danger as a result of a severe funding crisis, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned.
A report, released in Amman on Thursday, by more than 200 partners in the Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan (3RP) in Response to the Syria Crisis said programmes implemented by the UN and NGOs under the plan faced a staggering funding gap of a $3.47 billion.
The 3RP report called on the international community to act faster to deliver on its pledges of support. “We are so dangerously low on funding that we risk not being able to meet even the most basic survival needs of millions of people over the coming six months,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said.
Guterres also called for more solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community “than what we have seen so far.”
The report shows that only about $1 billion was received by the end of May against an estimated $4.53 billion which is required for programmes implemented by UN agencies and NGOs to be implemented under a plan launched in December.
This has meant that 1.6 million refugees have had their food assistance reduced this year; 750,000 children are not attending school; and life-saving health services are becoming too expensive for many, including 70,000 pregnant women at risk of unsafe deliveries.
Aroun 86 per cent of urban refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line of $3.2 a day, while 45 per cent of refugees in Lebanon live in sub-standard shelters.
Almost half of all those affected by this crisis are children, many of whom struggle to cope with distress caused by the violence and upheaval they have experienced.
The 3RP partners warned that if more funds were not forthcoming soon, up to 130,000 vulnerable families would not be provided with cash assistance that helps them meet basic needs and vulnerable people would stop receiving monthly food vouchers altogether.
Without urgently needed funds, the delivery of water and waste water services for millions of people across the region will also be in jeopardy. Up to 1.7 million people may face winter this year without fuel, shelter, insulation, blankets or warm clothes.
Halfway through the year, with less than a quarter of the required funding received and with winter just around the corner, 3RP partners urgently need funding certainty to plan and respond in time. Last year a number of people, including children, lost their lives during the harshest winter the region has seen in four decades
The report called on the international community to share more of the burden with host countries through the timely provision of funding and by providing solutions like additional resettlement opportunities and other forms of humanitarian admission for Syrian refugees.
The 3RP partners warned that if the call for action remains unheeded, a generation of Syrians would be left behind and neighbouring countries would continue to struggle to provide a public good they cannot and should not have to bear alone.
The Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan is an international appeal aimed at addressing refugee protection needs, the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable, and the longer-term socio-economic impacts of the Syria crisis on neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.