UN "days away" from cutting food aid to Syrian refugees due to funding shortage
The United Nations is days away from cutting basic aid programs to over 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon because of lack of funding, U.N. officials told The Daily Star Tuesday.
The number of refugees in the country has grown massively over the past two years exceeding all projections and quickly outstripping the amount of aid given to the country.
Making matters worse, only one third of the funding has been received, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported.
“The plans are in place, the staff is ready, but the funds are drying up,” said Ninette Kelley, a UNHCR representative in Lebanon.
“At this level of funding, vital programs to ensure food, clean water, schooling for children, health care and shelter for newly arrived refugees are simply impossible,” she said.
The current food aid assistance program that helps most refugees in the country will be cut dramatically because of the lack of funding and secondary health care coverage will be reduced by ten percent, UNHCR officials added.
UNHCR’s current response plan is being redrafted because of lack of funds and the cut backs will begin taking place in the next ten days without additional funding, said Dana Sleiman from UNHCR.
“We are currently revising the strategy in order to make the cuts, but we will have to make the cuts at the current funding level,” she said.
“If we continue with the current funding levels we will not be able to sustain food assistance after one month,” Sleiman added.