Skip directly to content

One Million Refugees Have Left Violence in Syria: Agencies Nearly Overwhelmed, Underfunded


Update March 6, 2:45pm: The UNHCR reports "Data received from UNHCR’s offices in the Syria region shows that the number of Syrians either registered as refugees or being assisted as such reached the one million mark today." 


(earlier post)

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday, February 27, that the number of registered refugees that have fled violence in Syria will reach one million within a month, warning that a "moment of truth" is approaching where the humanitarian community's capacity to provide assistance will reach its limit.  According to the High Commissioner, "The humanitarian situation is dramatic beyond description. The refugee crisis is accelerating at a staggering pace, month after month."  


Francis Lacasse, Oxfam's Syria crisis response manager said that families are arriving,  "exhausted and traumatised.  Some have faced bombs and bullets to get here.  Now, they are trying to get through one of the most brutal winters in the last two decades with almost nothing. Most families have to rely on the generosity of relatives and neighbours."


The UNHCR's website lists the total number of registered refugees and individuals awaiting registration as 940,131 as of February 26, of which roughly 250,000 currently reside in Jordan, 200,000 in Lebanon, 180,000 in Turkey, 100,000 in Iraq, and 20,000 in Egypt.     Over 330,000 have left Syria since the beginning of this year, and nearly 7,000 refugees arrive in neighboring countries every day. 


Women and children make up 66% of the refugee population, and the aid community has prioritized protecting these refugees from further violence.  Other priorities include cash assistance programs to support families that are vulnerable to high costs of living, lack of job opportunities and rapidly dwindling resources.  Most refugees are renting accommodation, while 24 per cent are hosted in urban communities.  Collective shelters are also available to meet basic needs.


The funding for Regional Response Plan for Syria is nearly one-fifth of the total needed, and underfunding has become a "major operational challenge."


Within Syria the number of displaced and affected persons is much higher, with an estimated 2 million internally displaced and more than 4 million affected by the conflict.