Donors pledge $550mn for UN refugee work in 2013
Publisher: AFP, Agence France Presse
Story date: 11/12/2012
Language: English

The UN refugee agency said Tuesday it had received government pledges totalling $550 million (423 million euros) for its efforts next year to help millions of displaced people worldwide.

Government donors had also promised an additional $169 million for UNHCR's work in 2014 and beyond, the agency said.

The UNHCR described the pledges as "heartening", pointing out that at a similar pledging session towards its 2012 budget, donors only coughed up $482 million.

The amount promised Tuesday meanwhile only makes up a portion of UNHCR's estimated 2013 budget of $3.92 billion, but the agency said the early pledges were good indicators of how much it would have to work with next year.

"New humanitarian crises over the past months have created hundreds of thousands more refugees and internally displaced people," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

In the past year and a half, the world has seen several simultaneous new conflicts that have created a surge in new refugees from countries like Syria, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UNHCR for instance announced earlier Tuesday that the number of Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries and North Africa had swelled to over a half million people.

"At the same time ... protracted displacement situations such as that in Afghanistan and Somalia have not gone away," the agency pointed out.

UNHCR said that of the 42.5 million people forcibly displaced as of the end of 2011, it had helped 25.9 million.

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