An unimaginable humanitarian disaster
“The UN refugee agency reports that Syria's intensifying refugee crisis will today pass a record 3 million people, amid reports of horrifying conditions inside the country. These include cities where populations are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being indiscriminantly killed.”
"Almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives. One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million more than a year ago. A further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. Over half of those uprooted are children,"
“UNHCR and other aid agencies say increasing numbers of families are arriving in a shocking state, exhausted, scared and with their savings depleted. Most have been on the run for a year or more, fleeing from village to village before taking the final decision to leave.”
"There are worrying signs too that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders. Refugees crossing the desert into eastern Jordan are being forced to pay smugglers hefty sums (US$100 a head or more) to take them to safety,"
"Syrians are now the world's largest refugee population under UNHCR care, second only in number to the decades-long Palestinian crisis. The Syria operation is now the largest in UNHCR's 64-year history,"
“... the Syrian crisis 'has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them.'”
“UNHCR is also deeply concerned for the well-being of several hundred Syrians trapped inside the Al Obaidy refugee camp in Al Qa'im, Iraq, after UN agencies and international NGOs were forced to abandon their offices and warehouses. UNHCR says national partners are continuing to provide supplies and maintenance, but the situation is volatile.”
“Many newly arriving refugees say they only left Syria as a last resort. A growing number, including more than half of those coming to Lebanon, have moved at least once before fleeing, and one in 10 have moved more than three times. One woman told UNHCR she had moved 20 times before crossing into Lebanon.”
“The UNHCR statement said a growing share of new arrivals – up to 15 per cent in Jordan, for example – were suffering from long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and left because they were no longer able to get adequate health care at home.”
“In the past year alone, 1.7 million refugees received food aid, 350,000 children were enrolled in school, and shelter in camps was provided for more than 400,000 refugees. Since the beginning of the crisis in March 2011, UNHCR has registered refugees faster than at any time in its history.”