Syria's Refugee Tally: 1M

And half of them are children, according to UN report
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2013 4:04 AM CST
Syrian families wait their turn to register at the UNHCR center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, March. 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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(Newser) – A million people have now fled Syria to avoid the war raging there—and half of them are children, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported today. "Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster," commissioner António Guterres said. "We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched." The defections have accelerated dramatically this year, with more than 400,000 fleeing since January. The UN hadn't expected to pass the 1 million mark for three more months, the BBC reports.

The influx has put a real strain on neighboring countries; Lebanon, for instance, has seen its population swell as much as 10%, while Turkey has spent $600 million on refugee camps. Jordan and Iraq have also been sharing the load. Jordan's king yesterday urged other countries to help carry "the tremendous burden," and Guterres echoed that call. "These countries should not only be recognized for their unstinting commitment to keeping their borders open for Syrian refugees," he said, "they should be massively supported." (Read more Syria stories.)

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