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Donors pledge more than US$450 million towards UNHCR programmes in 2009

News Stories, 10 December 2008

© UNHCR/P.Taggart
UNHCR works to begin the transfer of vulnerable displaced Congolese last month to a camp in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The agency will need funds to continue operations there in 2009.

GENEVA, December 10 (UNHCR) As the number of refugees and displaced people around the world continues to rise, donors have pledged some US$463 million towards UNHCR's 2009 programmes. This amounts to about a quarter of the UN refugee agency's total needs for the year ahead some US$1.86 billion.

This year's pledges, made on Tuesday at UNHCR's annual pledging conference in Geneva, were down 6 percent on the amount raised at last year's conference, when donors pledged some US$492 million towards the 2008 appeal.

"This is an encouraging outcome at a time when donors are faced by the uncertainties provoked by the current economic turbulence," said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. But he called on donor countries to come up with the balance of resources required to meet global needs. He appealed to countries to provide additional contributions early in the New Year to ensure that assistance and protection are not interrupted. "Without additional funds, the outlook for the world's displaced is uncertain", he said.

The High Commissioner paid special tribute to the 10 countries that provide more than 75 percent of UNHCR's total budget, while appealing to others to increase their support. The money is needed to help some 32 million refugees, stateless and internally displaced people around the world.

Several donor representatives at the conference praised reform efforts aimed at making UNHCR more efficient and ensuring that more resources were allocated directly to helping refugees and other persons of concern to the agency.

With almost 97 percent of UNHCR's budget coming from voluntary donations and only 3 percent funded by the regular UN budget, the agency is extremely vulnerable to any reduction in funding by major donors.

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Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

As the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon continues to grow, ensuring access to quality health care is becoming an increasing challenge for humanitarian aid groups and the international community. So, Kuwait's unprecedented donation in April of US$110 million for UNHCR's Syria crisis operations this year came at a most opportune time. Slightly more than 40 per cent of the amount has been used to fund programmes in Lebanon, including the provision of vital - and often life-saving - medical care. In the following photo gallery, photographer Shawn Baldwin looks at the essential work being done in just one Kuwaiti-supported clinic in northern Lebanon. The small Al Nahda Primary Health Care Clinic in the town of Beddawi has a staff of seven doctors and one nurse. Between 600 and 700 people seek medical attention there every month and the clinic meets the needs of some of the most vulnerable refugees.

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

The UN refugee agency has just renewed its appeal for funds to help meet the needs of tens of thousands of Malian refugees and almost 300,000 internally displaced people. The funding UNHCR is seeking is needed, among other things, for the provision of supplementary and therapeutic food and delivery of health care, including for those suffering from malnutrition. This is one of UNHCR's main concerns in the Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania, which hosts more than 70,000 Malians. A survey on nutrition conducted last January in the camp found that more than 13 per cent of refugee children aged under five suffer from acute malnutrition and more than 41 per cent from chronic malnutrition. Several measures have been taken to treat and prevent malnutrition, including distribution of nutritional supplements to babies and infants, organization of awareness sessions for mothers, increased access to health facilities, launch of a measles vaccination campaign and installation of better water and sanitation infrastructure. Additional funding is needed to improve the prevention and response mechanisms. UNHCR appealed last year for US$144 million for its Mali crisis operations in 2013, but has received only 32 per cent to date. The most urgent needs are food, shelter, sanitation, health care and education.

The photographs in this set were taken by Bechir Malum.

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

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