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Rediff.com  » News » Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

September 04, 2013 09:32 IST

Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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With 2 million refugees fleeing Syria, half of which are children, the civil war-torn country has seen a nine-fold increase in that number in the last 12 months, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. And this is with no sign of the outflow ending soon.

With an average of almost 5,000 Syrians fleeing into neighbouring countries every day, the need to significantly increase humanitarian aid and development support to host communities has reached a critical stage.

"The war is now well into its third year and Syria is haemorrhaging women, children and men who cross borders often with little more than the clothes on their backs," the UN refugee agency said in a statement released to mark the milestone.

"This trend is nothing less than alarming, representing a jump of almost 1.8 million people in 12 months," the UNHCR said. One year ago today, the number of Syrians registered as refugees or awaiting registration stood at about 230,670 people.

We bring you heart-rending scenes from one such camp

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Image: Young children get heat from a burning rubbish bin as Syrian refugees go about their daily business in the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said Syria had become "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history."

He added that "the only solace is the humanity shown by the neighbouring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."

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Image: A woman walks down an alley in a poor neighborhood with a high concentration of Syrian refugees in Beirut, Lebanon
Photographs: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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More than 97 per cent of Syria's refugees are hosted by countries in the immediate surrounding region, placing an overwhelming burden on their infrastructures, economies and societies.

They urgently need massive international support to help deal with the crisis.

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Image: A refugee from Syria collects food and supplies from the UNHCR as he arrives at the Za'atari refugee camp in Mafrq, Jordan
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Tags: Syria , Syrian

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, meanwhile, expressed her dismay at the level of death, damage and danger that has forced so many Syrians to run for their lives.

"The world risks being dangerously complacent about the Syrian humanitarian disaster. The tide of human suffering unleashed by the conflict has catastrophic implications. If the situation continues to deteriorate at this rate, the number of refugees will only grow, and some neighbouring countries could be brought to the point of collapse," she said.

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Image: A man shows off his pet birds as new Syrian refugees arrive at the International Organisation for Migration at the Za'atari refugee camp in Mafrq, Jordan
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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In view of the pressure the refugee exodus is placing on surrounding countries, including the worsening economic impact, ministers from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey will meet with UNHCR in Geneva on Wednesday in a bid to accelerate international support.

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Image: A boy carries a mattress as Syrian refugees go about their daily business in the Za'atari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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The 2 million figure represents Syrians who have registered as refugees or who are pending registration. As of the end August this comprised 110,000 in Egypt, 168,000 in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon and 460,000 in Turkey.

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Image: Syrian refugees, who fled violence in Syria, are seen at a new refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region
Photographs: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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Some 52 per cent of this population are children aged 17 years or below. UNHCR announced only days ago that the number of Syrian child refugees had exceeded 1 million.

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Image: An aerial view shows the Zaatari refugee camp, near the Jordanian city of Mafraq
Photographs: Mandel Ngan/Reuters
Tags: UNHCR , Syrian

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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A further 4.25 million people are displaced inside Syria, according to data from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Taken together, these numbers -- amounting to more than 6 million people -- mean that more Syrians are now forcibly displaced than people from any other country.

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Image: A Syrian refugee tries to get a signal to make phone calls at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria
Photographs: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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The UNHCR is active in Syria and is leading the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis in each of the surrounding countries. Humanitarian agencies are worryingly under-supported, with receipt of only 47 per cent of funds required to meet basic refugee needs.

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Image: A Syrian refugee girl writes "we miss Syria too much" on the chalkboard in her classroom in Majdel Anjar in Bekaa Valley
Photographs: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
Tags: UNHCR , Syria

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Tragically disunited: Inside a Syrian refugee camp

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An Iraqi refugee hugs her relative on returning from Syria in Baghdad, Iraq.

Photograph: Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images




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