From US, a gift to UNHCR

    The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees seeks to assist the more than 500 Syrians arriving in Lebanon every hour and other refugees elsewhere but needs more funding. Photo by: F. Juez / UNHCR

    The news release reads: “Syrians fleeing by the hundreds daily, says UNHCR.” Scroll a bit down and you’ll find a yellow button on the right.

    “Donate to this crisis,” the yellow button says.

    The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is appealing for help to provide lifesaving assistance to more than 265,000 Syrians who have fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan since internal conflict erupted in their homeland in March 2011.

    UNHCR actually needs more financial support beyond this emergency.

    The agency relies almost entirely on voluntary donations, public and private. In 2012, it needs $3.59 billion for its operations; as of June 22, it had received contributions of nearly $1.6 billion. That’s not even half UNHCR’s financial requirements.

    Good news came Aug. 7. The United States, already the largest donor to the U.N. refugee agency, announced it’s making a third contribution to UNHCR, amounting to $41 million. This brings its 2012 support to UNHCR to $720 million.

    Aside from the Syrian crisis response, the U.S. funding contributes to UNHCR’s programs for Africa and Asia-Pacific and covers costs of global operations and work at headquarters.

    “We continue to salute the vital work of UNHCR, its many partner non-governmental organizations (NGO), and refugee-hosting countries in providing protection to displaced populations around the world,” said a U.S. State Department press release.

    The funding comes from the department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

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    About the author

    • Eliza Villarino

      Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.