Dubai, UAE: In response to the increasing number and intensity of humanitarian emergencies, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is launching its Ramadan campaign to mobilize much-needed financial support to address the growing needs of people forcibly displaced worldwide by conflict, violence, human rights violations, and persecution.
Last year, over 100 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homes due to war, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses. Many have been struggling to survive for years as many crises remain unresolved.
After 12 years of crisis in Syria, humanitarian needs have reached a crescendo. With over 14 million Syrians still displaced from their homes inside and outside of Syria, this continues to be one of the largest refugee crises in the world. The devastating earthquakes which recently hit Türkiye and Syria have added another layer of trauma and burden for millions of vulnerable Syrians as they try to protect and provide for their families.
In Türkiye, the earthquakes impacted a region of 15 million people including among them many refugees from Syria and the communities that have generously hosted them for 12 years. In Syria, 8.8 million people live in affected areas, including families that were already displaced from their homes by the country’s long-running crisis, and already dealing with pre-existing large-scale humanitarian needs.
However, consecutive funding appeals for the Syrian refugee situation have been severely underfunded and that undermines humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR, efforts to reach all those who need support. UNHCR is appealing for US$ 201.3 million to respond to the urgent needs of families impacted by the earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye.
Yemen remains one of the worst humanitarian crises, with 4.5 million people internally displaced and more than two-thirds of the population living under the poverty line. The UN estimates that 21.6 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance and protection. Yemeni communities are overstretched, and yet they shelter some 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers from other
war-torn countries. However, so far this year, UNHCR has received just 8 percent of the US$ 320 million it requires for its work in the country.
In Bangladesh, the decrease in funding adds to the challenges Rohingya refugees face in terms of nutrition, shelter, sanitation, and livelihoods. With the dire situation entering its sixth year, efforts need to be redoubled to provide sustained financial support and solutions to the 978,000 Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host communities. There is an urgent need for continued robust support for a response that is only funded in 10 percent.
“UNHCR is urgently calling for support to address the growing humanitarian needs of displaced people observing Ramadan facing increasing challenges across the world,” said Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor to the High Commissioner and UNHCR’s Representative to Gulf Cooperation Council countries. “We are working tirelessly to ensure that those affected by war and displacement are provided with immediate and long-term relief.”
UNHCR’s Ramadan campaign this year invites the public to look closer and see the people behind the headlines and the statistics. It honours the resilience and determination of those who have been forced to flee and haven’t given up in spite of their difficult circumstances.
During this holy month, any gift, Sadaqah, or Zakat will be a lifeline to millions of displaced people observing Ramadan away from home. Since its inception in 2017, UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund has impacted the lives of more than six million beneficiaries in 26 countries, with Zakat and Sadaqah contributions.
“It is our mission to respond to the humanitarian crises worldwide, including conflict and climate crises in Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, and the Horn of Africa, among others, that have affected and displaced millions of people,” said Khalifa. “UNHCR’s Ramadan campaign this year is accordingly dedicated to raising awareness and funds to alleviate the suffering of the victims of these catastrophes, and in this Holy month, we ask for increased solidarity and mobilization in support of displaced populations so that we can continue delivering aid to those most in need.”
A UNHCR staff member speaks to a distressed boy and his family at a mosque in the Suleiman Al-Halabi district of Aleppo, Syria, which has been turned into a collective shelter for people affected by the two earthquakes which struck the region on 6 February