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UN: 13.6 Million Displaced by Wars in Iraq and Syria

Russ Jones | Christian Press | Thursday, November 13, 2014

UN: 13.6 Million Displaced by Wars in Iraq and Syria

As winter approaches there is a growing concern for refugees displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq. The UN refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday that roughly 13.6 people are without food and shelter, according to Christian Today.

"Now when we talk about a million people displaced over two months, or 500,000 overnight, the world is just not responding," said Amin Awad, UNHCR's director for the Middle East and North Africa.

While the problem is critical in Iraq and Syria, UNHCR maintains there are also needs in other parts of the region. For many Syrian refugees, this will be the fourth winter away from their homes and the first for the 1.9 million Iraqis who have become displaced this year.

To compound the problem UNHCR warned that the agency faces a $58.45 million funding shortfall.

"The shortfall affects our winter preparedness programs, although we have already invested $154 million on winter aid for Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced, and means that UNHCR is having to make some very tough choices over who to prioritize," chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming said in Geneva.

As a result of the shortfalls, UNHCR said it would only be able to reach 38,000 of the most vulnerable refugees – or 60 per cent of those in need of winterization assistance. Each refugee will receive $28 with a maximum ceiling of $168 for families with six or more members.

Publication date: November 13, 2014