Seven million Syrians, or nearly one-third of the population, have been displaced by the civil war that has ravaged the nation since 2011, but international aid has been a "drop in the sea" of humanitarian need, a top UN official said today. The funding gaps remain wide, with donor countries sending less than one-third the money needed to help those displaced, says a UN rep. Syria's brutal two-and-a-half-year-old conflict has also claimed more than 100,000 lives, including hundreds who—according to the US—were killed in chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime near Damascus on Aug. 21.
Of the 7 million displaced Syrians, 5 million fled their homes but are still in Syria and 2 million crossed into neighboring countries, said the UN official. Before the outbreak, Syria had a population of about 23 million people. The UN rep said the need for aid is far greater than what the international community has provided so far. "Whatever efforts we have exerted and whatever the UN has provided in humanitarian aid, it is only a drop in the sea of humanitarian needs in Syria," he said. The funding gap "is very, very wide." Click for more on today's developments in Syria. (Read more Syria stories.)