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 Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid