BUSINESS

UN Refugee Agency Sees 'Unprecedented' Donations From Corporations

It was able to raise $17 million in just under a week.

A fundraising campaign by the United Nations' refugee support arm raised millions of dollars in less than a week, with significant support pouring in from the private sector.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, on Sept. 5 launched the campaign to aid Syrian refugees and reached $17 million on Sept. 11.

"It was an unprecedented level of generosity," UNHCR emergency response coordinator Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams told The Huffington Post in an email.

The amount includes a $3 million contribution from Goldman Sachs, which will help provide supplies and temporary medical facilities for families arriving daily in Europe, many of whom have endured arduous journeys across the Mediterranean. The corporate donations will also assist refugees in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

Other partners in the fundraising campaign include Google, Zara, Sony Ericsson, Volvo, H&M, Hipp, Brown Forman​ and Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget, said Ghedini-Williams.

More than 4 million Syrians have fled the country as refugees, and at least another 7.6 million are internally displaced, according to the U.N.

"This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. It is a population that needs the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into poverty," High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said of the crisis back in July, adding, "Worsening conditions are driving growing numbers towards Europe and further afield, but the overwhelming majority remain in the region. ... We cannot afford to let them and the communities hosting them slide further into desperation." 

The UNHCR has previously worked with Ikea, Uniqlo and UPS to provide aid to the nearly 60 million people displaced around the world. Ikea has been a major supporter, donating around $43 million in July for refugees in Africa and designing durable, easily assembled flat-pack shelters.

European nations are facing mounting pressure to take in more refugees. Germany, which has been the biggest recipient of asylum seekers, has repeatedly called on other leaders to reach an agreement on the crisis and on Sunday instituted border controls, seen by many as a sign that it could not continue to bear the brunt alone.

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