Refugee group: ‘Alarming’ that only 27% of funds received

Health

Migrants rest on a Mediterranea Saving Humans NGO boat, as they sail off Italy’s southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters, on Thursday, July 4, 2019. An Italian humanitarian group whose boat has been barred from docking in Lampedusa said the health of the 54 migrants it rescued at sea is rapidly deteriorating, prompting fears of another standoff with Italy’s populist government. Mediterranea Saving Humans said Friday in a tweet that its sailing boat ALEX was off Italy’s southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters, and that it has been banned from entering Italian jurisdiction by ministerial decree. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A leading advocacy group for refugees said Monday that with half of 2019 gone, humanitarian organizations have received only 27% of the money needed to provide relief to people affected by crises worldwide this year.

Norwegian Refugee Council secretary-general Jan Egeland said “the current lack of funding is alarming.”

Egeland said a total of $26 billion is required this year to provide relief for around 94 million people in need. However, donor countries have contributed only $7 billion, or $2 billion less than for the same period last year, he said, citing the U.N.’s financial tracking service.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said the crisis in Cameroon is among the most critically under-funded, with less than 20% of the appeal covered so far this year. It also singled out the Democratic Republic of Congo “struck by a toxic cocktail of conflict, mass displacement and Ebola,” and also said, “even funding for Syrian refugees is drying up.”

“Let’s not be fooled into believing that the amount needed is too high or the job too difficult. It is a question of priorities,” Egeland said. He said the world’s total military expenditure last year increased to “a whopping $1.8 trillion,” citing figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“The cost of closing the humanitarian funding gap and providing people with basic support equals to just about 1% of this,” he said in a statement.

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