OTTAWA, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - The United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) is raising the alarm over the continuous massive
exodus and the growing humanitarian needs caused by the conflict in
UNHCR estimates there are now nearly 1.5 million registered Syrian
refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. The refugee crisis
has continued to accelerate over the last few months, especially since
fighting escalated during the summer of 2012. Daily arrival figures
averaged 3,000 people in December, 5,000 in January, and 8,000 in
February. In recent weeks, there were several days with as many as
14,000 people crossing the borders into neighboring countries in the
space of 24 hours.
'The refugee numbers are significant, but they cannot convey the full
extent of the tragedy. Most refugees have lost family members and
everything they once owned - homes, businesses, and livelihoods,' said
Mr. Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada.
'There are harrowing reports of rape and sexual abuse of women and
children inside Syria. In the neighboring countries, we see the level
of trauma in those who manage to flee.'
UNHCR is appealing to donor governments to urgently approve
extraordinary funding for the victims of the Syria crisis, to ensure
that their most basic needs can be met and the stability of the region
preserved. UNHCR is appreciative of the contribution that Canada,
other leading members of the international community and private donors
worldwide have offered in response to this emergency.
Nevertheless, UNHCR and its partners have received just over 50% of the
funding needed to assist the victims of the Syria crisis. The ongoing
large-scale displacement from Syria across the region continues to
require an urgent response to address the needs of refugees.
The lack of adequate funding for Syria, in a region already suffering
from lingering crises nearby, risks to turn the present conflict into a
disaster that could overwhelm the international response capacity, with
political, security and humanitarian consequences. This must not be
allowed to happen.
UNHCR leads and coordinates the response to the Syrian refugee situation
in the host countries, working closely with the host governments and
our UN and NGO partners. UNHCR currently has three offices inside Syria
and 13 in the four neighboring countries that have been receiving the
majority of Syrian refugees (Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq). There
are over 2,000 UNHCR staff working in these five countries.
Image with caption: "Jordan / This man and his wife use a stroller to carry essential possessions across the border. Most of the arrivals come from the nearby southern Syrian city of Dara'a and surrounding villages. (CNW Group/UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130514_C6780_PHOTO_EN_26687.jpg
SOURCE: UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
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