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UNHCR: More funds needed to cope with 5,000 daily refugee arrivals as winter hits Europe

BEIRUT |, with agencies - November 06, 2015, 08h32
Photo: UNHCR

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today appealed to donors for more than $95 million to make sure emergency shelters are equipped with heating and ensure other measures are in place to protect from the harsh winter weather the unrelenting flow of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece and travelling through the Balkan countries.

“UNHCR’s new winter plan anticipates that there could be up to 5,000 arrivals per day from Turkey between November 2015 and February 2016,” the agency said in a press release.

The Winterization Plan for the Refugee Crisis in Europe focuses on putting in place measures to support affected countries such as Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to avert the risk of humanitarian tragedy and loss of life during the winter months, according to the agency.

UNHCR said it will work on preparing, adapting and upgrading existing shelter and reception facilities for winter and supplying emergency shelters such as family tents, refugee housing units and Rubb halls equipped with heating.

Winter clothing and blankets, as well as other essential items for protecting people from the elements, will be included in the aid packages to be distributed to individuals with specific needs, it said.

The refugee agency said it will also work to ensure that water supply systems and sanitation facilities do not freeze and provide adequate heated structures for toilets, showers, wash basins and laundry facilities.

And because there remain long stretches of roads that refugees and migrants may have to walk, “should government authorities or other partners not be in a position to provide alternative arrangements, as an interim measure, UNHCR said it will consider providing transportation to reception centres to expedite access by refugees and asylum-seekers to assistance and protection services.”

“Harsh weather conditions in the region are likely to exacerbate the suffering of the thousands of refugees and migrants landing in Greece and travelling through the Balkans, and may result in further loss of life if adequate measures are not taken urgently,” UNHCR said.

The $96.15 million appeal brings UNHCR’s total supplementary requirements to $172,724,529.

#Migrants, #Syria
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