These refugees have fled to neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon and there are thousands more waiting to be registered. The UN estimates that the number of Syrian refugees is likely to double by June this year if there is no end to the conflict.
The UN has described the rapid rise in numbers as “absolutely dramatic”, while the international community struggles to provide the necessary emergency assistance. UN members will meet in Kuwait shortly to discuss the crisis and rally commitments from more countries for extra funding. This will be channelled through humanitarian agencies.
In the meanwhile, countries like Jordan are doing all they can to organise the refugees and provide tents for families, but there is an urgent need for international support and supplies.
The UK has pledged 21 million pounds towards helping families caught up in the Syrian crisis. This brings the total aid money provided by the UK to nearly 90 million pounds. The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said the new aid money would be spent on clothing, food and medicine. Ms Greening recently visited a refugee camp in Jordan and saw for herself the huge humanitarian need of Syrian families. During her trip, she praised the “incredible generosity of spirit that ordinary Jordanians” had so far shown.
While much of the new funding will be spent on supporting Jordan in its efforts to cope with the influx of refugees, money will additionally be channelled inside Syria. Here, the aim is to help restock medical centres and provide treatment for thousands of injured or sick people inside the country. Money will also be spent on supplies of bread and flour. Ms Greening called on other nations in the international community to do more to help and to “get behind the UN and [turn] vague promises into actual support”.
The conflict in Syria has been running for almost two years now, costing the lives of over 60,000 people and displacing millions. SOS Children have been working in Syria since 1980 and continue to support children and their families there. See how SOS Children are addressing the needs of those in its care.