Syrian refugee numbers top 500,000 - UNHCR

GENEVA Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:09pm IST

Syrian refugees react as United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives to visit a U.N.-run school in Al Zaatri refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Syrian refugees react as United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives to visit a U.N.-run school in Al Zaatri refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria December 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

Related Topics

GENEVA (Reuters) - More than half a million Syrian refugees are now registered or are waiting to in other Middle Eastern countries, with about 3,000 new people seeking refugee status and assistance daily, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.

In the last two days alone, 1,000 people have crossed at night into Jordan, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a briefing.

"They arrived in very bad weather, their clothing soaked, shoes covered in mud," she said. "UNHCR teams have described them as fearful, freezing and without proper winter clothing."

According to UNHCR's latest figures for Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and North Africa, 509,559 Syrians are either already registered (425,160) or in the process of being registered as refugees requiring international assistance.

"People are being instantly and violently uprooted and losing everything they had in a place that was once peaceful," she said.

The number of registered Syrian refugees region-wide rose by about 3,200 per day in November, both new arrivals and those who signed up only once their resources were depleted, it said.

"We are getting increasing numbers of people already in the countries coming forward," Fleming said.

More Syrians struggling to live in their host country are expected to come forward as the war continues, their savings are exhausted and host families can no longer support them.

Lebanon now hosts 154,387 registered Syrian refugees who have fled the 20-month-old conflict, Jordan has 142,664, Turkey 136,319, Iraq 65,449 and North Africa 11,740, the UNHCR said.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of Syrians are believed to have crossed into neighbouring countries but not yet come forward to register for refugee status and assistance, it said.

They include about 100,000 in Jordan, 70,000 each in both Turkey and Egypt and tens of thousands in Lebanon, it said, citing government estimates.

The latest estimates indicate that the total number of Syrians who have fled during the conflict has already surpassed the 700,000 refugees that UNHCR forecast by year end, although more than 200,000 of them have not registered formally.

Only 40 percent of the registered Syrian refugees in the region actually live in refugee camps, the rest are staying in rental housing, with host families or in collective centres.

In Lebanon there are no camps, while in Turkey all are in 14 government-run camps. There are three camps in Iraq and three in Jordan, the largest of which is Za'atri with more than 30,000.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

ISLAMIC STATE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Modi's U.S. Visit

Modi's U.S. Visit

Modi to observe strict fast during maiden trip to U.S.  Full Article 

Scholar Sentenced

Scholar Sentenced

China court sentences Uighur scholar to life in prison for separatism.  Full Article 

Hamas Men Killed

Hamas Men Killed

Israeli troops kill Hamas men blamed for slaying teens - army.  Full Article 

Afghan Doubts

Afghan Doubts

Doubts cloud sense of relief as new Afghan government takes shape  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola could strike 20,000 in six weeks, "rumble on for years" - study.  Full Article 

PM's Fortune-tellers

PM's Fortune-tellers

Thai PM Prayuth says "no harm" listening to fortune-tellers.  Full Article 

Syria Exodus

Syria Exodus

UNHCR bracing for possible exodus of 400,000 from Syrian town into Turkey.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage