U.N. Details Flows of Syrian Refugees

U.N. Details Flows of Syrian Refugees


September 11, 2012 GENEVA

As fighting continues in Syria, an “extraordinaryacceleration” in movements of refugees is compounding the difficultiesfor humanitarian relief efforts, the United Nations refugee agencysaid on Tuesday.

The agency said the number of people fleeing the country jumped from18,500 in June to 35,000 in July to 102,000 in August. Around 2,000 Syrians are crossing daily into Jordan amid continuingair and artillery attacks on towns near the southern border, AdrianEdwards, a spokesman for the agency said. Thousands more Syrians are reported to be moving south from village tovillage seeking safety from the fighting before crossing into Jordan,he said.

The exodus has pushed the number of Syrian refugees to more than aquarter of a million, Mr. Edwards said. Of the total, Jordan now hasmore than 85,000 refugees and Turkey more than 78,000, the refugeeagency said, counting those who have registered or are awaitingregistration with the agency. But many more refugees have notregistered, and both countries count far greater numbers. The agency said that More than 10,000 are waiting to cross into Turkey.

The latest estimates came as António Guterres, the United Nations HighCommissioner for refugees, and the actress Angelina Jolie, a specialenvoy for the agency, toured the Za’atri camp in northern Jordan todraw attention to the needs of the swelling refugee population. The camp, which opened on a windswept patch of desert close to theSyrian border at the end of July, already has 28,000 refugees, Mr.Edwards said. Faced with a relentless flood of people fleeing the fighting, UnitedNations officials are talking to Jordanian authorities about findingnew locations in less harsh surroundings for facilities to receivethem.

Providing another snapshot of deteriorating living conditions insideSyria, the World Health Organization said that a United Nationsmission to Homs last week found that more than half a million peopleneeded aid, including health care, food and water.

The mission foundthe biggest hospital in Homs had been destroyed and only 6 of the 12public hospitals and 8 of the 32 private hospitals were stillfunctional although with severely reduced capacity. At least half the doctors had left Homs and only three surgeons nowremained for an area with a population of more than two million. Manyhealth facilities are staffed by volunteers without medical or healthtraining and faced critical shortages of medicines, a spokesman forthe World Health Organization, Tarik Jasarevic, said.