The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is experiencing a significant shortfall in funding, which cripples its efforts to help displaced people cope with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, UNHCR’s Chief of Public Health Section, Ann Burton, said on Friday
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 17th September, 2021) The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is experiencing a significant shortfall in funding, which cripples its efforts to help displaced people cope with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, UNHCR’s Chief of Public Health Section, Ann Burton, said on Friday.
“The COVID-19 emergency tops the list of UNHCR’s top-10 underfunded situations in 2021. Only one third of the budgeted requirements of US $ 924 million has been received, leaving a yawning gap in UNHCR’s ability to protect the most vulnerable from the fallout of the pandemic, “Burton stated at a press briefing.
Forcibly displaced and stateless people face economic fallout from the pandemic as well as the virus itself, Burton said. With many businesses closing and therefore terminating their employment, displaced people may struggle to pay rent or buy food and other basic necessities, she noted.
“UNHCR calls on states to include refugees in national social safety nets and on donors to support us, in order to help fill that gap,” the UN official said.
At the end of August 2021, the most urgent shortage facing the UN’s response to the pandemic was $74 million in cash assistance, as well as smaller sums required to shore up “primary health care, Primary education, and services for people with specific needs,” Burton said.
Access to vaccines is one of the biggest problems facing refugees in their destination countries, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told Sputnik in July. Like Burton, Grandi commented on the pandemic’s impact on short-term employment which refugees often rely on.
The pandemic has gripped the world since early 2020. The first reports of an outbreak in Wuhan, China, emerged in December 2019. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. The WHO has so far recorded a cumulative total of 226,236,577 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,654,548 deaths.