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U.N. warns of 'critical gap' in Syrian refugee aid this year

AMMAN - A "critical gap" in funding for Syrian refugees and host communities this year could lead to cuts in vital services, threatening social stability in host countries and refugees' futures, United Nations and aid agencies warned on Thursday.
Humanitarian organizations had asked international donors for $5.6 billion this year to support 5.5 million Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and 4 million nationals from those host countries.
But almost half way through 2018, only 18 to 22 percent of required funds have been given, the heads of several U.N. agencies said at a conference in Amman to ask for more aid.
"We are already falling behind in providing cash assistance, in making sure we are picking up health bills, in supporting governments and municipalities to continue to give services to refugees," Amin Awad, director of UNHCR's Middle East and North Africa bureau, said. UNHCR is the UN's refugee agency.
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