As the Islamic world prepares to welcome the holy month of Ramadan, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urges greater support for millions of refugees and internally displaced people hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
People forced to flee their homes must be included on an equal footing in global vaccination programmes and economic recovery plans. Greater efforts are also needed to address their educational needs, mental health and psychosocial welfare, child protection risks, and in preventing and responding to gender-based violence.
“At this time of deep reflection and generosity, our solidarity with the world’s forcibly displaced is needed more than ever,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “In the spirit of solidarity during the Holy Month, I’m appealing for greater support for vulnerable people.”
Around 85 per cent of the world’s refugees are hosted in low- and middle- income countries that are facing financial challenges and often have fragile health systems. As a result of the pandemic, refugees and the displaced have lost livelihoods and been thrust into extreme poverty, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.
UNHCR estimates that three in four refugees worldwide can only meet half or less of their basic needs. Families have cut spending on food, are no longer able to pay rent, have fallen deeper into debt, or have been forced to stop children from attending lessons, even where schools have remained open.
Coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan, UNHCR has launched the “Every Second Counts” global fundraising campaign. Donations received as Zakat, Sadaqah, or general giving can ease the burden for forcibly displaced families that are away from home and their loved ones.
“Together we can help refugees and the internally displaced have a roof over their heads, a warm meal for iftar, clean water, and hope for a better and safer future,” said Grandi.
Financial support is urgently needed for UNHCR to continue providing life-saving assistance and support to vulnerable families, orphans, single mothers, and older people.
The campaign will also provide funds for UNHCR’s regular programming and help meet the mounting needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Campaign video: https://youtu.be/3rPn-cihRbU