The UN refugee agency has warned that millions of refugees across the world face homelessness due to a lack of funds for shelters.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Wednesday that the agency needed half a billion dollars to be able to provide adequate shelter for refugees.
“Without a major increase in funding and global support, millions of people fleeing war and persecution face homelessness or inadequate housing in countries such as Lebanon, Mexico and Tanzania,” it said.
“Without a safe place to eat, sleep, study, store belongings and have privacy, the consequences to their health and welfare can be profound,” it added.
The agency also launched a campaign called “Nobody Left Outside” in order to raise funds to build or improve shelters for some two million refugees across the world by 2018.
It asked the private sector to help fund the project.
The UNHCR buys 70,000 tents and over two million tarpaulins every year and helps refugees find housing and pay their rents.
The operations are anticipated to cost $728 million this year. The agency, however, said only $158 million was so far available.
“Shelter is the foundation stone for refugees to survive and recover, and should be considered a non-negotiable human right,” the UN refugee chief, Filippo Grandi, said.
“As we tackle worldwide displacement on a level not seen since World War II, no refugee should be left outside,” he added.
Some 60 million people have been displaced from their homes across the world. Some 20 million of them have been forced to flee their countries because of domestic conflicts and cross international borders to take refuge in neighboring countries.