Syria crisis: 2 million refugees and no end in sight

Syria crisis: 2 million refugees and no end in sight

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03/09/2013 – This morning the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that that the number of Syrian refugees who have fled the country now totals more than 2 million, a figure which will continue to rise. Current UNHCR estimates foresee the number of Syrian refugees rising to 3.45 million by the end of 2013.

European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva  stated this morning, "The number has doubled in the short period from 16 March 2013, and has now reached this tragic figure. Trying to visualise what this means, just think of four times the number of citizens of Manchester or Lyon or just over the population of Warsaw.

Once again, I call for the fighting to cease and for a political solution to be found urgently. Until that time – and it may be further from our reach than ever before - I reiterate my plea to all parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law and to protect civilians and those helping them to survive."

The majority of refugees have fled to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and North Africa where humanitarian aid organisations are addressing the needs of the people by providing medical care, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance amongst many other services. Actions to help the 4.25 million internally displaced people in Syria are also ongoing, despite the risks humanitarian aid workers face day by day in the conflict. So far, 20 Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and eight UN staff members have been killed performing their humanitarian work.

Being the largest donor to the international response to the crisis in and around Syria, the European Union, including its member states in joint coordination, has currently contributed over €1.3 billion to support aid agencies in their vital work.

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