DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The U.N. official in charge of aiding Mideast refugees said on Tuesday that anger over the attacks in Brussels shouldn't be directed at those fleeing Syria's bloody civil war or violence elsewhere in the region.
Amin Awad, the Middle East and North Africa bureau and regional refugee coordinator for Syria, also criticized the worldwide "political failure" that's seen donations dry up for aid to those part of the greatest mass migration in Europe since World War II.
"There's no Plan B. There's only Plan A," Awad told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference.
"There's no way out. The only way is that the bill is paid if we are to avert the crisis," he stressed.
Those at the conference, which featured medical supplies, tents and practice dummies who had suffered traumatic injuries, spoke in hushed, stunned tones about the attacks in the European capital where bombs at Brussels' airport and at one of the city's metro stations killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens Tuesday.
Awad stressed those fleeing had no other option, after growing only poorer, facing daily violence and not being able to school their children.
"To lump everybody together and say refugees are posing a security risk, that is not true," he said. "Any sort of hostilities (toward refugees) because of Brussels attack or Paris attack is misplaced."
One of the greatest challenges for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, in trying to help those fleeing Syria's five-year civil war or the violence by the Islamic State group there and in Iraq is a lack of drastic lack of funding, Awad said.
"The world is failing the Syrian people," he said.
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