Geneva – Insufficient refugee aid funding from donor countries is expected to create a shortfall of 3.7 billion dollars this year, the UN refugee agency UNHCR warned on Tuesday in Geneva.
According to a funding report by the UN agency, the number of refugees, internally displaced people, returnees and stateless persons is forecast to grow by over 8 million to 79.8 million people in 2018.
UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told a news conference that funding for the world’s forcibly displaced and stateless people is becoming increasingly squeezed, with barely more than half of needs being met.
“While donors left a funding gap of 42 per cent in 2016 and of 43 in 2017, this year UNHCR expects a 45-per-cent shortfall from its budget of 8.2 billion dollars.
“The lack of aid money is especially acute in Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, as well as in refugee host countries surrounding these hot spots.
“In situation after situation we are seeing increases in malnutrition, health facilities being overcrowded, housing and shelters becoming increasingly dilapidated,’’ Baloch said.
According to him, funds are also lacking for schools, and for protecting unaccompanied refugee children and victims of sexual violence.