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Syrian Refugees crisis (Getty Image)
Syrian Refugees crisis (Getty Image)

UN seeks Funds for Syrian Refugee Crisis

(Dp-news)

Agencies- The United Nations is unable to cope with an exploding Syrian refugee crisis that could see 3.5 million Syrians fleeing the country by the end of the year unless urgent appeals for more than $1 billion are met, the chief of the U.N.'s refugee agency said Thursday.



Since February, 8,000 people a day have been crossing Syria's borders, bringing the total of registered refugees to nearly 1.4 million, Antonio Guterres, the high-commissioner for refugees, told the international body's Security Council. Less than half that many were fleeing in December, he said.





A quarter of Syria's 22.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes because of the two-year-old civil war, including those who have fled the violence but remain in the country, Guterres said.

These numbers say little about the "horrendous suffering" and "progressive collapse of the state," he told the council via a video-link from Geneva.

"Let us be very clear: there is no humanitarian solution for the Syrian crisis," Guterres said.



"That is why it is so dramatic that we are not even seeing an inch of progress toward a political solution. And so we, as humanitarians, are forced to go on planning for the impossible."



If the refugee flow continues at the same pace, 3.5 million Syrians will have fled their country and as many as 6.5 million more will be in need of humanitarian aid inside the country, Guterres said.

"This is not just frightening, it risks becoming simply unsustainable. There is no way to adequately respond to the enormous humanitarian needs these figures represent." he added.



Antonio Guterres, who has led the UNHCR through the worst of the refugee crises in Afghanistan and Iraq, said the Syrian conflict was more brutal and destructive than both and was already the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of the cold war.



"I don't remember any other crisis where we are having 8,000 per day [fleeing across borders], every day since February," Guterres said in an interview with the Guardian. "There will very likely be 3.5 million by the end of the year. We will have half the population of Syria in dire need of assistance and this is incomprehensible.”



His assessment came as the UN released new data on the numbers of refugees, which revealed that 6.8 million Syrians are in need of aid. That figure is likely to reach at least 10 million, more than half the pre-war population of the country.



Another UN body, UNICEF, says half of those currently in need are children.

Also on Thursday, the U.N. Security Council called for an end to the violence in Syria, condemning rights violations by the government and rebels.



The refugee agency is seeking $1 billion in donations from governments and private sources, but until now have been able to raise only $410 million, including $110 million donated by Kuwait on Thursday and $111.6 million from the U.S., said UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming in an email. She said the $1 billion figure is expected to "grow significantly by the middle or end of May."



Aid agencies "need levels of financial support that are out of proportion with the established humanitarian aid budgets of traditional donors," Guterres said.

The vast majority of the refugees have fled to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, he said. Turkey alone has spent $750 million to care for 300,000 refugees, he said. Jordan and Lebanon are in need of international support but have received none over the past few months, Guterres added.



"For Lebanon, the Syrian crisis has become an existential threat," Guterres said. "The population has grown by more than 10% if one counts the registered Syrian refugees alone."

Taking unregistered refugees into account as many as one quarter of the people living in Lebanon are Syrian, he said.

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