Aid agencies at breaking point: UN refugee Chief
GENEVA – Aid agencies are close to breaking point in their efforts to help millions of desperate victims of conflicts around the globe, UN refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres warned on Friday.
“The international humanitarian community is really reaching the limits of its capacity, with multiplication of conflicts,” Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, told reporters.
Worldwide, 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, according to UN figures, mostly remaining within their embattled homelands’ borders or fleeing to neighbouring countries.
The total was the highest since World War II.
“In 2011, there were 14,000 new refugees and internally displaced people every day. In 2012, 23,000. In 2013, 32,000. An exponential growth of needs,” said Guterres.
Global attention is focussed squarely on the conflict in Iraq and Syria, which has driven millions of people from their homes, but the world also faced less headline-grabbing crises such as those in Africa, he underlined.
Wars are not the only factor.
“The impacts of climate change, of food insecurity, of water scarcity, of the multiplication of natural disasters, combined with population growth and urbanisation, and their impacts on the global environment, all this is making humanitarian needs grow in a dramatic way,” said Guterres.
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