Filippo Grandi calls on rich countries to give proper funding for developing nations that host people fleeing conflict

The head of the UN refugee agency has said he too would do “anything” to escape if he was stuck in a squalid refugee camp, as he called on the world’s wealthy nations to properly fund services in developing countries.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Filippo Grandi, the high commissioner for refugees, said countries are not getting enough recognition for hosting refugees, and that he would campaign for Cairo to receive more bilateral development aid to support its efforts.

According to the latest figures, Egypt hosts more than 242,000 registered refugees of 58 different nationalities, mainly concentrated in Greater Cairo, Alexandria and the north coast, 55% of them fleeing the war in Syria.

While migrant flows to Europe across the dangerous Mediterranean sea route had fallen sharply, Grandi said, that decline had not reduced the number of people fleeing war and poverty flocking to holding camps in places like Libya.

“If I was a refugee or a migrant or anybody going into this centre I would opt for anything to get out of there, even if I knew the risk of death was very high,” Grandi said, adding that what Libya needed was help to enforce the rule of law instead of just naval support, as well as aid to stop illegal people trafficking.

Seeking similar arrangements to those in eastern Europe, EU leaders have been urging Egypt to help stem the flow of people entering Europe from Africa, offering to step up economic cooperation as an incentive.

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