News / Middle East

UN Reports 1.3 Million Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugees filling their buckets at Atmeh refugee camp, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Syria, Apr. 5, 2013
Syrian refugees filling their buckets at Atmeh refugee camp, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Syria, Apr. 5, 2013
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency reports more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees have now fled to neighboring countries. The UNHCR warns this number could triple by the end of the year if a political solution to the conflict in Syria is not found.

The U.N. refugee agency says the deteriorating situation inside Syria is causing an average of 8,000 people a day to flee into neighboring countries in fear of their lives.

The agency's Syria Regional Refugee Coordinator, Panos Moumtzis, says this massive outflow of people has boosted the number of refugees registered in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq to 1.3 million.  He notes this figure does not take into account those people who have not registered, so the actual number of refugees in these countries is much higher.

“This is a significant increase if you think that today one year ago, 12 months ago, the actual figure was 30,000. So, in 12 months, we have gone from 30,000 Syrian refugees to 1 million, 300,000.  The 1 million, 300,000 represents 120 percent of the planning assumption figure we had taken and hoped, thought would reach by June 2013.  We had planned to help 1 million, 100,000 by June and we already are at 1 million, 300,000," Moumtzis explained. "Three quarters of the refugees who have fled continue to be women and children.”

  • Buildings destroyed in a government airstrike and shelling, in Marjeh in Aleppo, Syria, April, 11, 2013. (AMC)
  • A Syrian Army officer briefs his men to prepare for an offensive in Aleppo's Liramoun area, April 11, 2013.
  • Damaged mosques and properties activists said were hit by shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Daraa, April 10, 2013.
  • A Syrian rebel monitors the movement of Syrian government forces in the Sheikh Maqsud district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on April 11, 2013.
  • A man walks amid destruction in Aleppo, April 10, 2013.
  • A view of the new Mrigeb al-Fuhud refugee camp near Zarqa, Jordan.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk along a street lined with damaged shops and buildings in Deir al-Zor, April 8, 2013.
  • Smoke rises after a huge explosion shook the Sabaa Bahrat Square in Damascus, April 8, 2013.
  • Rescue teams recover bodies from the scene of a car bomb explosion which rocked central Damascus on April 8, 2013.

While the number of refugees continues to increase, the money available to assist them is not. The UNHCR says it only has received one third of the $1 billion it needs to care for the Syrian refugees until June.

Despite the lack of cash, Moumtzis says U.N. aid agencies have been scaling up assistance since January. He says they have expanded staff, health services, food, water, sanitation, shelter and educational programs. “While we have put in place relief services and relief operations on a 24/7 basis - we have relief workers going to work at night as well as the day because the refugees cross borders every day - we fear that we may not be able to continue the operations unless funding comes urgently," he said. "We are at a breaking point.”

Moumtzis says U.N. aid agencies already have cut life-saving services to the bone and he does not know how much is left to cut.  He notes that the refugee camps are overcrowded and new camps have to be built.

Of the $1.5 billion pledged at a conference in Kuwait earlier this year, he says only $400 million has been received.  He says the traditional Western donors have honored their pledges but the United Nations is still waiting for the $1 billion pledged by the Gulf Arab states.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
April 09, 2013 1:18 PM
The civilians in/outside Syria continue to endure horrific conditions, it appears that the internal situation, in Syria, is still getting worse; a month ago it was hard to imagine it could get worse. It is appalling to hear that the money commmitted to the UN, for this critical relief work, has not been received. Maybe? the UN Security Council, the Secretary General,

in conjuction with the Arab League, can appoint a Muslim person of prominence, like a Saudi Royal, to help with the liason work in collecting the pledged donations for the Syrian refugees. It is bad enough that the world has not been able to stop the war, but now to be running out of resources, for critical relief work, it will make the situation undescribable. I hope the pledged money materializes soon, and somehow this terrible war comes to an end.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More