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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
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 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 Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
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.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid