UNHCR, IOM seek US$550 million to aid refugees, migrants in Europe
GENEVA, Jan 26 (UHCR) - As continuing conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere drives people to seek refuge in Europe, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, and some 65 other organizations have appealed to donors for US$550 million to support the ongoing humanitarian response.
With global forced displacement at a record high of some 60 million people and increasingly impacting countries of the Global North, 2015 saw over a million refugees and migrants arriving in Europe by boat.
Around 850,000 of these crossed from Turkey to Greece. The vast majority of them came from the world's top ten refugee-producing countries, mainly Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Most of those arriving in Europe continued their journey on through the Balkans and towards Austria, Germany, Sweden and other countries.
The appeal, which was launched in Geneva, aims at funding humanitarian operations in 2016 across the affected European countries, with approximately half of the funds allocated for Greece.
The diversity of those on the move, including the young and the old, single men and women as well as families, victims of trafficking and gender based violence, and people from different nationalities and backgrounds means that individuals face different immediate needs based upon their specific vulnerabilities. This poses a further challenge to already overstretched authorities.
Humanitarian operations will include aid and protection activities where people are arriving, including identifying those at heightened risk, registration, shelter, water and sanitation.
The funds would also be used to bolster capacities for front-line responders such as coast guard, border guards, police and support for affected communities, and also assist with relocation, resettlement and other regular solutions.
The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Europe: Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans can be read here.