News / Middle East

UN: One Million Syrians Are Refugees

A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Sept. 9, 2012. A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Sept. 9, 2012.
x
A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Sept. 9, 2012.
A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Sept. 9, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations reports the number of refugees from Syria's war has reached the one million mark, calling it a tragic milestone.  It predicts the number will continue to rise until a political solution is found for the two-year-long conflict. 

The U.N. refugee agency warns Syria is spiraling toward a full-scale disaster.  It says thousands of vulnerable Syrians - mainly women and children -- are crossing  into neighboring countries under terrifying circumstances.

UNHCR spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes says that newborn babies and elderly people are among those fleeing under the cover of darkness, unable to see, often with gunfire in front of them.  

She says the refugees arrive in neighboring countries traumatized, without possessions and having lost members of their families.  And yet, she says, they continue to flee because they feel they have no other options.

Syria RefugeesSyria Refugees
x
Syria Refugees
Syria Refugees
Wilkes says most of the one million refugees from Syria have left in the last year.  She sees this as a reflection of the deteriorating situation in their country.

“We have seen an unrelenting flow of Syrian refugees - pretty much since the middle of last year.  But, since the beginning of this year, we have had an average of 7,000 Syrian refugees crossing the border every single day," she said.  "They have come at double the rate we anticipated.  In December, we put out a plan for $1 billion where we anticipated that over one million would arrive by the end of June.  They have now have arrived at the beginning of March.“  

The UNHCR has received only 25 percent of the funds needed for its humanitarian operations. The agency is appealing to the international community and private donors to rapidly come up with the funds needed.

In the meantime, Wilkes says the UNHCR has some stockpiles of relief supplies on hand and is drawing on other funds to respond to the refugee needs.  

She says the impact of this large number of people arriving in Syria's neighbors is severe.

“Lebanon’s population has increased by as much as 10 percent.  In Jordan, the energy, water, health and education services are being stretched to the limit," she said.  "The Turkish government tells us they have spent over $600 million so far setting up 17 refugee camps.  And, even Iraq - who would have thought that Iraq, still reeling from its own conflict, has received over 100,000 Syrian refugees in the past year.”  

Wilkes says there is no sign the flow of refugees from Syria will lessen any time soon.  She says they need help and the countries that are hosting them need assistance.  

The UNHCR says this tragedy has to be stopped.  But, without a political solution to end this crisis, it warns the situation for the Syrian people will only get worse.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid