Refugees are at risk of being forgotten as governments grapple with the financial fallout from Covid-19, a senior humanitarian has warned. Khaled Khalifa, the UNHCR’s regional representative to GCC countries and senior adviser for Islamic philanthropy, cautioned that charity groups are instead having to rely on donations from the private sector and individuals. Addressing the launch of UNHCR’s report into Islamic philanthropy and the impact of its “refugee Zakat fund” in 2020, he urged governments not to turn their back on those most in need despite the huge financial toll of the pandemic. “There is a risk that countries and donors will focus internally and this is something we are afraid of,” said Khalifa. “We are calling on donors – individuals or governments – to really consider the plight of refugees at these very difficult times.” As Ramazan approaches, Khalifa also urged all Muslims to embrace the ideals of Zakat and supports its fund. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a form of alms giving that is treated as a tax or religious obligation. Muslims across the world donate around $76 billion in Zakat each year. The report revealed how in 2020 the UNHCR supported 2.1 million refugees and internally displaced people globally through these types of donations. A total of $61.5 million was raised through its Zakat initiative last year – a 12.5 percent increase of 2019 collections, resulting in a growth of 59 percent in Zakat beneficiaries. The majority of those who received help – 1.6 million – came from 10 countries: Yemen, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Mauritania, India, Niger and Pakistan. Despite the sums raised, Khalifa warned the impact of the pandemic meant they needed more help. The UNHCR has projected a global budget of $9.1bn to help meet the needs of refugees and the displaced in 2021. He said $2.7bn was needed in countries where it will be distributing Zakat, providing support to 24.2 million people in Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Mauritania, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Iran, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Somalia. The UNHCR said the UAE was the nation where the most individual donations came from. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait and Qatar.