UN Agency seeks additional support for refugees in Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (L)

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on January 14, 2019, shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (L) in the Egyptian capital Cairo. (Photo by - / EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP) / === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==

A growing number of people fleeing violence are seeking refuge in Egypt, placing “severe pressure” on under-resourced agencies seeking to support them, the UN said Thursday.

“Ongoing conflicts in Yemen and in Sub-Saharan Africa have forced more people to flee to Egypt”, said United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in a statement.

Over the past two years, the number of registered refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt has increased by almost a quarter, it said.

The UN has registered around a quarter of a million refugees and asylum seekers in the country, according to figures published in February. 

Most are from Syria, Sudan or Ethiopia.

“Support for refugees in Egypt is under severe pressure due to increased arrivals and inadequate resources,” UNHCR warned.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said the agency was operating on a fraction of the budget needed to help them.

“These refugees require timely and adequate humanitarian assistance. Yet, right now we are unable to provide them with the bare essentials or maintain our core refugee protection programmes in this country,” he said.

Grandi was speaking days after Egypt hosted a summit where leaders of different nations agreed to work together to manage irregular migration and refugee flows.

Cairo presents itself as a champion of the fight against irregular migration and a model for integrating refugees on its own territory.

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