Another wave of Syrian migrants could aim for Europe if the international community doesn’t contribute more aid, the United Nations warned Tuesday.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it has only received 53 percent of its $4.63 billion appeal for 2017. The money was earmarked to support 5.3 million Syrian refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.
Amin Awad, director of UNHCR’s Middle East and North Africa bureau, said countries should increase their aid for “many reasons,” including to avoid another migrant crisis.
“The vast number of refugees that we have in the region, the geopolitical status of that region, the risk that a population of 5.3 million people can bring to an area, a small region already volatile as it is, if there is no assistance,” Awad said at a news briefing, Reuters reports. “We had the experience of 2015, we don’t want to repeat that.”
Turkey currently hosts 3.3 million Syrians while Lebanon has taken around one million.
The European Union struck a deal with Turkey in 2016 to stop the migrant influx to Greece. Turkey agreed to host three million migrants in exchange for billions of euros in aid. The deal has been criticized by activist groups that claim it has contributed to a spike in depression and suicide among migrants.
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