The Grim Costs of Wars

In the rise of humanitarian crisis, it makes very difficult to express a good news, especially when killing and kidnaping are rocking the life of individuals in the Middle East. Indeed, it is very difficult to push the pen when having people seeking humanitarian protection die into the heart of water or jangles.

Actually, it is a very common fact that wherever there is war, suffering, and devastation rock the life of individuals and the history itself speaks of it. The heavy rise of extremist groups in the Middle East left millions of people devastated with painful miseries, suffering, suppression and mass migration within their regions and outside to the international borders. The numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has reached to 50 million people for the first time in 2014, since the Second World War.

The year 2014 was reported to be a catastrophic year, ended with record high civilian causalities and immigration crisis that is still fast spreading. As a result of continuous violence in Syria, 191,000 people were killed and more than 12.2 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance, including over five million children, following the year 2014. Some 7.6 million people are internally displaced and another 3.2 million are refugees in neighbouring countries.

The crisis does not only end in Syria. Conflict and insecurity in Iraq displaced over 2.1 million people across the country. Some 5.2 million people are in need of aid, 2.2 million of them in areas under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), where humanitarian agencies have little or no access. The outbreak of violence in South Sudan forced 1.9 million people to flee their homes in 2014. Close to 500,000 of these have sought refuge in neighbouring countries and 1.4 million are internally displaced and 1.5 million people suffer heavy insecure food. The gap between humanitarian needs and the resources available to meet them continues to grow. The problem stands alarming, when most of the refugees are women and children.

The crisis in the region pushed the humanitarian organizations into grave concerns, particularly the UNHCR who has launched its largest single aid assistance in more than a decade which could benefit about half a million internally displaced people. As the freezing season of winter has already reached, the refugee crisis has overwhelmed the relief agencies. According to UNHCR, its warehouses are almost empty and the numbers of beneficiaries are low. High rate of insecurity has become the main obstacle for the relief agencies to deliver their humanitarian programs. Whilst the search still continues for a political solution to ease the crisis, and humanitarian organizations struggle to reach as many people as possible with life-saving assistance.

With more than 85 percent refugees living among host communities across the region, and in urban areas, it is putting pressure on the respective countries and governments’ resources, overcrowded hospitals and schools, rising unemployment, and water, sanitation, and energy shortages. This is also putting the citizens under stress and anxiety while co-existing with extremely poor refugees, who are sometimes forced to resort to harmful mechanisms for their survival.

In face of such looming crisis, the political resolutions to the perpetual humanitarian crisis seem to appear distant. The relief experts believe that addressing the refugee crisis is a workable proposition. The problem, however, is the growing financial cost of addressing the crisis and poor international aid response. The United Nations has sought $7 billion from the international community to provide relief for the Syrian refugee crisis for 2015. For its part, UNHCR has made at least half a dozen attempts for funds since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, a total of $6 billion. Unfortunately, it has received just over half of that amount. With such response, the state nations disappointed the humanitarian organizations to be able to respond to the ground-paralyzing crisis as needed.

Some of the numbers are astounding when compared to Germany accommodating only about 70,000 Syrians since 2012; Canada offering to accept 1,300 Syrians over two years; Japan contributing just 17 percent of its promised share; and South Korea only two percent. Even some of the wealthy Arab countries have yet to fulfill their promises, perceiving the ground humanitarian crisis. So far, the United States was reported to be the largest contributor by giving 63 percent of its fair promised share.

However, the crisis is reported to be getting worst with each passing day across the Arabian countries. To respond such vast humanitarian catastrophe is not only the responsibility of the UNHCR. It is about time the world nations must fulfill their responsibilities towards these grim humanitarian crisis, putting aside the economic crisis. The world at large must take part to handle the situation comprehensively, through funding contributions or extension of their resettlement programs or bring an end to the ongoing violence across the regions.

In view of the refugee crisis becoming a serious long-term challenge to the political, economic, social, and humanitarian systems, international assistance should be comprehensive, innovative, and long lasting. It should not only help refugees, but also the countries hosting them to avoid further instability and devastation. Such generosity may contribute a lot to the welfare of our society.

Today, the world is in the grip of a refugee crisis of catastrophic proportions which we ignore at our peril,” said Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren. “We should not fool ourselves into believing this is someone else’s problem; this is a global crisis which requires global solutions. We will persistently experience this crisis, unless the world commits to come up with comprehensive and convenient response. The UK and wider EU must stand in solidarity with developing countries who host the majority of the world’s refugees by offering another path to safety through increasing the number of resettlement places we offer.

The persistent conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Pakistan, Kenya, Myanmar, and others, the numbers of refugees may be even higher in the upcoming years, particularly in the year 20        15. The state nations must offer comprehensive political solutions to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

In this regard, Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said, “We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict. Peace is today dangerously in deficit. Humanitarians can help as a palliative, but political solutions are vitally needed. Without this, the alarming levels of conflict and the mass suffering that is reflected in these figures will continue.”

Convenient solutions to many of these crises highlighted remain imperative. The UN report emphasized over the 1951 convention relating to the status of refugees appeals on signatories to remain cooperative on finding best-suited solutions to the ground humanitarian crisis, including trying to lower the number of refugees and resettle others from distance locations.

About samad1986

Abdul Samad Haidari is a poet, writer, teacher and a former freelance journalist, currently residing in Indonesia as a stateless refugee. He is the author of The Red Ribbon He fled his home country at the age of seven and grew up wandering in Pakistan and Iran as a child refugee, and was separated from his family for the majority of his childhood. For two years, at the age of eight and nine, he was forced into child labour in the construction industry in Iran. In contrast, Pakistan offered refugees like him the opportunity to study and work. This education and work experience culminated in Abdul teaching computer studies and English language courses at the Intel Computer Center and Pak Oxford Professionals. After the collapse of the Taliban government, Abdul returned to Afghanistan thinking that the security situation had improved, and that he could take part in the reconstruction of his war-torn country. With this in mind, Abdul served as a freelance journalist and humanitarian aid-worker in areas of the country that remained dangerous to civilians because of the influence of terrorist groups. Abdul served with the Norwegian refugee council (NRC), ActionAid Afghanistan, Daily Outlook Afghanistan group of newspapers, and The Daily Afghanistan Express. As a freelance journalist, Abdul wrote articles and editorials about on-the-ground realities, which were then circulated widely. These had a particular focus on women and children’s rights, corruption, transparency and accountability in government, warlords and terrorist groups’ actions and the systematic persecution of minority groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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