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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid