Syrian refugee count could hit 1 million within a week


Syrian refugee children play with swings at the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border. (Reuters/Giath Taha)

Within a week, there could be more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq as yet more people flee the country’s ongoing civil war, according to United Nations estimates.

The United Nation’s Refugee Agency reports that 953,310 displaced Syrians had either registered as refugees or were waiting for registration as of Feb. 27. With an estimated 7,000 new refugees arriving at camps every day, that number could cross the one-million mark as early as March 8.

The startling thing about these figures, however, is not the number of refugees -- it’s the pace they’re coming in. In December, the U.N. predicted 1 million refugees would enter by June, but was quickly forced to reevaluate that timeline. Now the agency estimates there will be 1.1 million refugees by March.

More than a third of registered refugees left Syria since January alone:


(UNHCR)

As the U.N. notes in a desperate-sounding bulletin, the sheer number of refugees has strained the organization’s resources and led to dire conditions in some camps.

“This is the fastest-deteriorating humanitarian crisis on the planet . . . and it is deteriorating at a much, much faster pace than we had planned for,” Panos Moumtzis, the regional coordinator for the UNHCR, told the Post in January. “It’s dramatic, it’s explosive, and it’s dangerous.”

See photos from the conflict in Syria.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey · March 1, 2013