Displaced Syrians from Deir Ezzor head to refugee camps on the outskirts of Raqa in September 2017
The United Nations said Tuesday that it had received pledges amounting to $857 million (726 million euros) to fund operations aimed to help an estimated 67 million displaced and stateless people worldwide next year.
It was the highest amount ever promised to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) at its annual pledging conference.
But it was still only about 11 percent of the total funding of the more than $7.5 billion it needs for 2018, the agency said in a statement.
That money provides aid that can often be life-saving for people displaced worldwide, including in brutal conflicts like the ones raging in Syria, Yemen, and South Sudan.
While acknowledging that the pledges fell far short of the needs, the UNHCR said they were well above last year’s December pledges of just over $700 million.
It said this could indicate that countries would continue being more generous throughout 2018, narrowing the funding gap.
That would be a good thing, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said in the statement, adding that as “refugee crises grow, refugee needs grow as well.”
He noted that the agency’s work is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from governments, intergovernmental institutions, companies, foundations and individuals.
Large funding gaps, he said, “means that UNHCR has to prioritise, sometimes mercilessly.”
“This can mean some will be left to fend for themselves during the harsh winter months and others won’t get the assistance they need to reintegrate upon return.”
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