UN pleads for Syria refugee aid to be speeded up

A Syrian boy pictured alongside belongings prior to returning to the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad at the Turkish border post of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, on June 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

Amman (AFP) - The United Nations said Thursday there is an acute shortage of money to provide aid to refugees from Syria and their hosts in neighbouring countries, appealing for funding to be speeded up.

Some 3.9 million people have fled the civil war in Syria, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the shortage is hampering assistance to them and to more than 20 million people in the countries hosting them.

The UNHCR said that, of $4.53 billion (4.04 billion euros) required under the so-called Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, only $1.06 billion, or 23 percent, had been received by the end of May.

Commissioner Antonio Guterres said that this "massive crisis requires far more solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community than what we have seen so far."

"But instead, 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."

The UNHCR said refugees' food assistance is being reduced, children are not attending school, life-saving health services are becoming too expensive for many and many live in sub-standard housing.

The UNHCR also said that, as pressures grow on host countries, it is increasingly difficult for Syrians to find refuge.

That has resulted in a greater number of Syrians seeking to reach Europe on dangerous, sometimes fatal, journeys across the Mediterranean.

The report called on the international community to share more of the burden, not only through timely funding but also by providing additional resettlement opportunities and other forms of humanitarian admission.

Otherwise, "a generation of Syrians will be left behind, and neighbouring countries will continue to struggle to provide a public good that they cannot and should not have to bear alone."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting