The millionth registered Syrian refugee is a 19-year-old mother of two who arrived at a refugee center in Tripoli, Lebanon. The problem is that an estimated 300 to 400 thousand refugees never registered after they crossed into other nations. According to a March 6 article from the United Nations News Centre, the UN is warning that the Syrian refugee exodus could become a "full scale disaster."
António Guterres is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He said, “With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster. We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched. This tragedy has to be stopped.”
Most refugees are fleeing to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Some make their way to North Africa and Europe. All are arriving without possessions and varied trauma levels. Most have lost family and friends.
The young woman, known only as Bushra said, "The situation is very bad for us. We can't find work. I live with 20 people in one room. We can't find any other house as it is too expensive. We want to return to Syria. We wish for the crisis to be resolved."
According to a March 6 Reuters article, the refugee crisis began two years ago, when President Bashar al-Assad's forces ordered his forces into indiscriminate killing of pro democracy forces. The death toll reached 70,000 in February.
The UNCHR says half of Syria's refugees are children and most of them are under 11 years old. Estimates are that over two million Syrians are internally displaced and over four million residents need humanitarian assistance.
Lebanon's population has risen as much as ten percent. Jordan is struggling to produce more energy, water and health and education services. Iraq took in over 100,000 Syrian refugees while struggling with its own displaced population of one million people. Turkey spent $600 million to establish 17 refugee camps and has more camps under construction.
Meanwhile, the UN Regional Response Plan for Syrian Refugees only has about 25 per cent of the funds needed for a planned response to the crisis. The UN revised the plan upward for 2013, but must revise the plan a second time. In March 2012, the goal was to provide six-month assistance to 96,500 refugees. The first revision increased funds to $1 billion for the first half of 2013. This would support 1.1 million refugees, but rising numbers of refugees continue to cross Syria’s borders every day.