Germany decries 'underfunded' UN refugee response



UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday it was "scandalous" that UN relief agencies, charged with responding to the world's biggest refugee crisis in 70 years, were so underfunded.
Bodies such as the UN refugee agency, the World Food Programme and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees "help people in need, on the spot with no intermediaries," he told the UN General Assembly.



"It is scandalous that these organizations are so underfunded that they have to cut food rations and medical aid," he said.
Germany is giving more than $100 million to UN relief agencies in a $1.8 billion assistance package announced by the G7 group of leading economies, European countries and Gulf states on Tuesday.
The money will help to relieve the burden on Syria's neighbors, namely Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which are hosting the most refugees.
The United Nations is struggling to help 60 million people displaced by conflict, the highest number since the end of World War II.
Four million have fled the war in Syria, with hundreds of thousands traveling to Europe to try to rebuild their lives.
Germany has taken in 600,000 refugees since January and up to 10,000 new refugees arrive every day, Steinmeier said.
"These figures show that even we cannot shoulder this alone in the long term. We need a European solution.
"A solution that moreover builds on close cooperation with our neighbors around the Mediterranean, especially Turkey," he said.
The German minister called on European countries and all member states of the United Nations to behave well.
"When dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe as horrifying as the one in Syria, we are all neighbors," he said.
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Friday, October 2nd 2015
AFP
           


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