On Sept. 25, 2015, Andrea Koppel, who is vice-president of global engagement and strategy for Mercy Corps, stated a warning when she said, “Our humanitarian communities are maxed out.” An indication of her frustration since the status quo is obviously no longer effective. She further stated, “We are using humanitarian assistance as a band-aid,” according to Fox News. Mercy Corps is a disaster relief agency based in Portland, Oregon and operating in more than 40 countries. The vice president also believes that countries, in addition to the U.S., that provide the bulk of disaster funding, must recognize the inefficiencies of the current system, and adopt better ways to handle disaster relief. Perhaps suggesting that the relief efforts to help the Syrian refugees is doing more to exacerbate the issues than to relieve them, and the relief effort itself is in a state of crisis.
The enormous influx of Syrian refugees into places such as Turkey may have people wondering when it will all end. However, the challenge is the overwhelming number of Syrians that have left their homeland, and as reported by Fox News, “The human needs have been growing exponentially. There are not enough dollars to meet them.” Although there are several countries involved in the relief efforts of the civil-war-torn country, little of that relief is actually making a difference. The warning issued by Koppel came just two days after the Obama Administration has again announced it will send additional money to the region. The latest pledged amount of $419 million will bring the U.S. total contribution to over $4 billion since the trouble began in 2010. Koppel suggested a new normal that circumvents the United Nations and its bureaucratic top-down policies, by placing the necessary authority with the private agencies, who are willing to oversee the relief efforts.
Mercy Corps suggested in a recent analysis to create a system in which the local government and authorities are more engaged in the effort to restore order, and to make it simpler for the original inhabitants to return once the restoration is achieved. This can be done by replacing the old ineffective institutions with a greater reliance on new consolidations of civil society groups, different levels of government, and private-sector organizations. The Syrian refugees have been caught in the crossfire of regional tensions for decades. Therefore, U.N. officials and the governments that have contributed to the relief efforts must realize the time to create more practical and cost-effective strategies is now.
By Jireh Gibson
Edited By Leigh Haugh
Fox News: Downsize UN role in refugee crises, US relief agency suggests
Top Article and Featured Image Courtesy of World Bank Photo Collection’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License