Exchange to change February 2016 - Page 9

In this context, international actors and wealthier states need to take greater responsibility, particularly in terms of making sure that the governments and organizations tasked with assisting refugees are adequately resourced so to do: “We cannot wait to properly resource the UN until it’s a crisis on the tv screens that finally prompts governments to actually do something. There are so many crises that aren’t on the tv screens. Now there’s money being pumped into the crisis in Syria, but how many other displacements are taking place across the planet? UNHCR is getting resources because of Syria, but so many others are in need as well.” The need for increased resources was also brought up by Vandevoordt, who said that although the Belgian government has put much effort in providing at least minimal services – for example by installing emergency reception centers in cooperation with the army, local communities and holiday centers – most refugees in these centers are living in poor conditions. “In these centers, many tasks are fulfilled by volunteers or social assistants who have little work experience, resources and time available.” In the French camps of Calais and Dunkerque, the situation is even worse, and humanitarian organizations have sounded alarm bells about the inhumane situation in which people are living, and the inadequacy of resources. “This is of course becoming an even more urgent concern given the worsening weather conditions, which are inducing health problems and horrible hygiene conditions.” In many countries the flawed response by the government – and, according to Vandevoordt, depictions of the human suffering in the media, such as the photo of the little boy Aylan – has led to indignation a