International

U.N. Refugee Chief: 'We Are All Overstretched'

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum. i i

hide captionAntonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum.

Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum.

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum.

Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

Over the past year and a half, the world has seen crisis after crisis. Today, NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke to António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, mostly about the crisis in Sudan.

But at one point during their talk, Guterres rattled off the crises they've dealt with since the beginning of 2011: The Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria, Yemen, both a famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa, Mali and now Syria is flaring up again.

António Guterres

"Old crises seem never to die," Guterres said. "Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia. It goes on and on and on and there is a glimpse of hope in a moment where an agreement seems possible but then all of a sudden everything gets into turmoil again. And this is an enormous challenge for the humanitarian community in the world. We are now facing almost one crisis every month... and this represents a huge challenge for all of us; we are all overstretched. And the capacity to deliver in the relation to the needs of people becomes severely limited both because of physical capacity and human resources and because of the constraints of financial resources especially in a world in which so many countries are facing budgetary crisis."

Michele has more of her conversation with Guterres in her piece, which aired on All Things Considered. We've also added the audio below:

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