U.N. announces major rise in Syria war homeless

Syrian refugee children sit inside a makeshift school tent as a teacher conducts English lessons during a visit by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake to the Syrian refugees camp in Kfar Zabad village at Bekaa valley, eastern Lebanon, November 1, 2013. (Reuters)

The United Nations on Monday announced a 30 percent rise in the number of Syrians left homeless and needing aid because of the country’s war, Agence France-Presse reported.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the U.N. Security Council that 6.5 million people have now fled their homes and 9.3 million need outside assistance to survive.

Also, the increasing number of Syrian refugees escaping to neighboring countries is putting a lot of pressure on these countries.

Amman says the influx has placed a huge burden on already overstretched water and power supplies as well as housing and education, while unemployed Jordanians face tough competition from Syrians for jobs.

King Abdullah II said on Sunday the problem is depleting Jordan of its scarce natural resources, and called for international assistance to deal with the problem.

On Monday, U.N. documents showed that the cost of hosting more than 500,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan for this year and 2014 was at $5.3 billion (3.9 billion euros).

“A rough estimate would be $2.1 billion for 2013, and $3.2 billion for 2014” for humanitarian and development funding requirements for the impact of Syrian refugees in Jordan, according to the documents released at the end of a closed-door meeting of U.N. agencies in Amman.

A total of $777 million has been received by donor countries.

For Jordan, the planning ministry said in a statement that the cost is estimated at $1.7 billion annually.

“The U.N. meeting comes at a critical time,” the statement quoted Planning Minister Ibrahim Saif as telling the gathering.

“The Syrian crisis is starting to take longer than expected, which requires sustained international assistance to help the refugees and host communities,” he added.

According to the ministry, Jordan is hosting 900,000 Syrians, including 600,000 U.N.-registered refugees, with more than 100,000 living in the northern Zaatari camp near the border.

“The most important thing now for the government is to receive aid to continue to welcome refugees, while at the same maintain economic gains for Jordan and the citizens.”

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says there are some 550,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan -- equal to eight percent of the kingdom’s population.

(With AFP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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