United efforts to combat humanitarian crisis sought

1/Syrian Kurdish refugees cross into Turkey from Syria, near the town of Kobani. The war that erupted in Syria in 2011 has propelled it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement. UNHCR / I. Prickett

1/Syrian Kurdish refugees cross into Turkey from Syria, near the town of Kobani. The war that erupted in Syria in 2011 has propelled it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement.
UNHCR / I. Prickett

As World Refugee Day approaches on 20th June, humanitarian officers are making a plea for more action on a community level. With over 65 million refugees and displaced people globally, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR is urging people to step up and give support and financial donations for a deepening humanitarian crisis.

“What makes people risk their lives in the Mediterranean sea, cross borders, or uproot their children from school? They’re just trying to survive until the conflict ends and they can go back home,” UNHCR’s Abu Dhabi-based senior regional public information officer Mohammed Abu Asaker told us.

“We’re talking about the largest number of refugees and displaced people we’ve ever seen in recent history. We want people to remember that we’re talking about women and children, young people and the elderly.

“They used to live an ordinary life; they have dreams,” he continued. “They’re desperate for a new chance at life.”

Jordan / Syrian refugees / Syrian civilians wait in a jordanian military camp near the Syria/Jordan border, on June 18 2013, after they crossed the border. / UNHCR / O. Laban-Mattei / June 2013

Jordan / Syrian refugees / Syrian civilians wait in a jordanian military camp near the Syria/Jordan border, on June 18 2013, after they crossed the border. / UNHCR / O. Laban-Mattei / June 2013

While the UNHCR and other agencies continue to make tireless efforts to support the refugees, the provision is falling short in the face of a spiralling crisis.

“Generous support has been given already,” Mohammed commented.

“But this does not meet the acute needs of the refugees, and that need is growing. We are blessed to have an easy life in the UAE,” Mohammed reflected.

“But $175 (AED 640) can provide a [refugee] family’s basic needs for one month. When we think about it, we might spend that much on a dinner alone. For them, every dirham counts.

“This year, World Refugee Day comes in the month of Ramadan and the Year of Giving,” he added.

“We cannot respond to the needs of 65 million people alone. This is a collective effort, and together we can make a difference.”

To find out more or donate, visit: donate.unhcr.org/ramadan

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