UNHCR: Assistance to refugees and displaced people stretched to the limitListen /
More people have been forced to flee from their homes this year than at any other time in nearly two decades, stretching the available financial and material resources to the limit, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The agency says this year alone over 1.5 million Syrian refugees have left their country while hundreds of thousands have been uprooted from their homes in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Mali and Somalia.
Speaking in Geneva at the opening of the annual UNHCR Executive Committee meeting, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said the Syrian refugee crisis was unparalleled but efforts to provide adequate humanitarian assistance were being held back by lack of financial support.
Mr Guterres said the Syrian crisis was likely to engulf the entire region and he called for genuine commitment from all parties to find a lasting political solution.
"This conflict has to stop. As a citizen of the world, I have been enormously frustrated to see appeals for political solution seemingly fall on deaf ears and the various parties unable to come together and put an end to the suffering of Syrians and gradual destabilization of the neighbouring countries. But I want to interpret last week's agreement as a glimmer of hope to have the way for something broader. This crisis has gone far beyond requiring only humanitarian assistance to displaced people. The Syrian conflict is not just a threat to global peace and security, but results in fundamental structural problems for the countries of the region. They are going through huge demographic changes following the refugee influx unsettling their social and economic fabric."
Mr Guterres commended the generosity of countries and communities hosting refugees but said the international community must do more to share the burden and help especially developing countries who now host more than 80 per cent of the world's total refugee population.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.