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EU Official Calls for More Syria Aid

European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva speaks as she arrives at an European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg, April 22, 2013.
A senior European Union official is calling for more humanitarian aid in Syria.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Kristalina Georgieva, says there has been a rapid deterioration of the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries since her last visit to the region in December.

Speaking Wednesday on her return from the region, she says there now are more than 1.5 million refugees. She says about one-third of Syria’s population of 22 million, including some five million internally displaced, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Georgieva says tensions are flaring in neighboring countries where refugees are concentrated and outnumbering the local populations.

"The refugees are in competition for jobs, for housing," she said. "Rents have gone up three, four, five times in villages and cities where the presence of refugees is most significant. They are in competition for water… They are in competition for medical services, for schooling… Very clearly the communities and countries are feeling under existential threat."

Georgieva says the humanitarian operation for Syrians inside and outside the country is woefully underfunded. She says the international community must provide more money for aid.