United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Presents Report on Syrian Refugee Crisis
Q2 2013Geneva, Switzerland --
António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has announced that the total number displaced by the Syria conflict has surpassed 400,000 individuals but that the numbers leaving Syria appear to be slowing. The UNHCR has revealed the following estimates for the destinations of Syrians seeking to flee the violence in their country since the civil war began:
These figures include both recorded and estimates of unrecorded numbers of refugees. Authorities in all countries receiving displaced persons have been frantically trying to construct camps large enough to cope with the vast numbers of people involved. Dr Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organization, has expressed her fear of epidemics sweeping through the temporary settlements if clean water, adequate medical care and sanitation facilities were not available. Emergency medical teams have been dispatched to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq to help to treat the sick and injured.
The vast numbers of refugees have placed a great strain on regional infrastructure, particularly in Jordan and Lebanon. Whilst many citizens have been welcoming of those fleeing from conflict, others have taken a less generous view and there have been incidents of refugees being attacked in some areas.
The UNHCR has appealed to all nations in a position to do so to donate money, food, construction materials, medical supplies and other help to ensure that the camps could remain open.
"The situation is desperate," Mr Guterres said to reporters. "I am deeply concerned that things may grow worse and that the authorities in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq might not be able to fully cope with this influx of huge numbers of refugees. The international community must be prepared to step in to support our efforts to provide these people with basic shelter, medical care and food. Without help there is a very real risk of disease and malnutrition causing large numbers of deaths."
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