ANKARA (AA) - Three UN agencies on Wednesday urged international support for Syrian refugees and the host communities.

“The UN is urgently seeking increased funding to help people in need through a US$3.3 billion appeal for the response inside Syria, and a $5.5 billion refugee and resilience plan for the neighboring countries,” said the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a joint statement following a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

According to last year’s figures, only 62 percent of the $5.6 billion required for the regional refugee and resilience plan was funded and 65 percent of the $3.4 billion required for Syria was received. 

“Without an immediate and substantial injection of funds, life-saving provisions of food, water, health care, shelter and protection services will likely be interrupted,” said Mark Lowcock, UN humanitarian chief.   

There is a widening gap between the needs of the refugees and the support given to international refugee response, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. 

“Reduced assistance due to funding cuts means that refugees are forced to make agonizing choices every day, such as taking children out of school to work or reducing meals. They are also vulnerable to exploitation and abuse,” he added. 

According to UNHCR, 11.7 million people in need of humanitarian aid and protection, 6.2 million people are internally displaced and more than 2 million boys and girls are out of school in Syria. Also an estimated 83 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line.

“The situation is also driving the largest refugee crisis in the world. There are over 5.6 million Syrian refugees and up to 3.9 million impacted members of host communities in the neighboring countries,” said UNHCR.