Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:11 pm
The UN refugee agency UNHCR on Tuesday warned that without urgent additional funding, some 60,000 Syrian refugee families would be cut from monthly cash assistance programmes in Lebanon and Jordan from July.
A UNHCR spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva that vital parts of the agency’s response to the needs of Syrian refugees were critically under-funded.
He said contributions were urgently required to avoid dramatic and deep cuts to both basic and life-saving services to Syrian refugees in the second half of this year.
“The situation is most dramatic in Lebanon and Jordan, where a number of direct cash assistance activities can dry up in less than four weeks.
“UN figures showed that 70 per cent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are already living under the national poverty line.
“For many, cash assistance is the only means of buying medicine for sick family members and paying off their bills and fast-accumulating debts,” the UNHCR said.
The UNHCR said that those who fled to Jordan have equally faced stark challenges.
“For every third family in the cash assistance program in Jordan, this is their sole source of income, making them particularly vulnerable to any cuts.
“In Lebanon the UNHCR urgently needs 116 million dollars, including lifeline multi-purpose cash for 30,000 Syrian refugee families.
“A winter cash assistance for two months for another 174,000 families and protection cash assistance for 1,500 refugee households to help them overcome periods of hardship,’’ it said.
Meanwhile in Jordan, the agency said it urgently requires 71 million dollars to provide monthly cash assistance for 30,000 Syrian refugee families.
It said that it needed support to the estimated 60,000 Syrians stranded at the Syria-Jordan border, and to ensure timely support this winter for 35,000 Syrians.
UNHCR scaled up and pioneered new approaches in delivery of cash assistance programs in 2011 to assist massive number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring middle-income countries.
The agency said that it could work with banks to deliver cash to the refugees.
It said that such will reduce overheads and fraud, and giving a choice to refugees to buy what they needed, avoiding the stigma of distribution queues.
UN figures show that more than five million Syrians live as refugees in neighboring countries. This makes Syrians the largest refugee group in the world.
It said that another 6.3 million were displaced inside Syria.