News / Middle East

UN Reports Sharp Rise in Syrian Refugees

Newly arrived Syrian refugees wait their turn to receive mattresses, blankets and other supplies, and to be assigned to tents, at the Zaatari Syrian refugees camp in Mafraq, near the Syrian border with Jordan, Jan. 28, 2013.
Newly arrived Syrian refugees wait their turn to receive mattresses, blankets and other supplies, and to be assigned to tents, at the Zaatari Syrian refugees camp in Mafraq, near the Syrian border with Jordan, Jan. 28, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency reports a sharp rise in the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. The UNHCR says it now has registered more than 700,000 refugees, with most of the newly arrived crossing into Lebanon and Jordan.  

U.N. refugee spokesman Adrian Edwards says the desperate security and living conditions in Syria, especially in the town of Deraa, are prompting people to just pick up their things and flee.

“Numbers are never the right way to tell the story of the impact on so many lives of a situation like this that is happening in Syria," he said. "Nonetheless, they are so dramatic that they speak louder than anything else at the moment. We are looking at possibly a million people having become refugees from Syria by the middle of 2013. And, at the moment, in the absence of a political solution, there still is not an indication of any letup.”

Syrian Refugees by Country:

  • Lebanon: 228,936
  • Jordan: 222,762
  • Turkey: 163,161
  • Iraq: 79,469
  • Egypt: 14,375

Source: UNHCR
To highlight the dramatic increase in refugees, Edwards notes there were 515,000 registered as of December 12. That figure has gone up by almost 200,000 in the space of a few weeks.  And, even these numbers, he says, underestimate the true extent of the exodus.

Edwards says countries in the region are reporting the presence of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have not come forward to be registered and to receive assistance.

The UNHCR spokesman says the situation is overwhelming and UNHCR staff is working overtime to try to keep pace with the sheer numbers of people waiting to be registered. He says the stories people tell of life in Syria are uniformly terrible.

“People over a number of months have spoken of difficulties in crossing, access difficulty, the security problems," he said. "We have people coming across injured. People have had to flee their homes without any ability to bring much with them. So, they are more or less empty-handed when they arrive. In many cases, there are medical needs.”

Edwards says the UNHCR is doing what it can to help these people. For example, Za’atri camp in Jordan hosts between 50,000 and 60,000 Syrian refugees. He says the agency is running several hospitals and clinics there. In addition to basic health care, he says the refugees are in need of tents and so much more to help them survive their difficult situation.

And, he says, all this takes money, which is in short supply. The UNHCR’s share of the United Nations’ joint $1 billion appeal for Syrian refugees is nearly $494 million. The UNHCR has received about 22 percent of that.

Edwards says donors are being generous. Money is coming in. But, the problem, he says, is that the money is just not coming in quickly enough.

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid