UN refugee agency warns of winter crisis for displaced Iraqis, Syrians • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

UN refugee agency warns of winter crisis for displaced Iraqis, Syrians

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) — The UN refugee agency ( UNHCR) has warned that an ongoing funding shortage could leave as many as a million refugees across Iraq and Syria without proper help as they prepare for the winter, a UN spokesperson said here Tuesday.

The UNHCR has been trying to prepare displaced populations in the two countries for the coming winter, but the agency is increasingly concerned by a funding shortfall of 58.45 million U.S. dollars, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at a daily news briefing.

“Right now, UNHCR estimates that the winter shortfall will affect some 990,000 people, mainly newly internally displaced people in Iraq and Syria,” Haq said.

The shortfall affects the agency’s winter preparedness program, although it has already invested 154 million on winter aid for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), the spokesman said.

While the problem is most acute in Iraq and Syria, there are also needs in other parts of the region. This will be the fourth winter away from their homes for many Syrian refugees and the first for the 1.9 million Iraqis who have become internally displaced this year. Many have fled with nothing, he added.

Over the past several months, Iraq has been convulsed by increasing instability amid an ongoing offensive by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its affiliates, unleashing wave after wave of IDPs and refugees. Since January 2014, an estimated 1.9 million people have been displaced across Iraq as they fled the violence and persecution of ISIL’s recent offensives.

In Syria, meanwhile, the ongoing civil war continues to displace civilians, fueling an increase in the needs for winter aid.



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