Syria refugee crisis reaches tipping point

Saturday, February 28, 2015
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres addressing Security Council
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: UN top humanitarian officials warned members of the Security Council that Syria refugee crisis has overwhelmed the capacity of the international community to respond.

Speaking to the Security Council, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-Wha Kang said "every month we report on the same violations. The numbers change, but the pattern remains the same. The parties to the conflict continue to act with impunity: killing and abducting civilians; denying access; removing vital supplies from convoys. This pattern must be broken."

Kang noted that for every $1 million WHO cannot raise in Syria, some 227,000 people lose vital health services.

She said "unless urgent funding is received before May 2015, a million children who are out-of-school will not be able to access alternative education options. Malnutrition programs for up to 1 million children will have to be halted or reduced."

Also speaking to the Security Council, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said "with the refugee situation growing more protracted and more desperate, almost two million Syrian refugees under 18 risk becoming a lost generation. And many of the over 100,000 refugee children born in exile could become stateless under Syrian law."

He added "if not addressed properly, this crisis-in-the-making will have huge consequences for the future of Syria and the neighbouring region."

There are presently 3.8 million refugees registered in places like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Host communities are overstretched and international support cannot keep up with the magnitude of the needs.

Guterres also said "as High Commissioner for Refugees, it breaks my heart to see Syrian families fleeing from a horrible war, forced to risk their lives again, on unsafe boats, to find protection in Europe.  Since the start of 2015, over 370 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean - that s one person drowning for every twenty who made it."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned members of the Security Council that Syrians were now the largest refugee group in the world.

A recent survey of 40,000 refugees in Jordan found that two-thirds were living below the poverty line.

The conflict is now approaching its fifth year and has engulfed the entire Middle East. -UNifeed
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