UN estimates thrown out: 1 million Syrian refugees already registered
The number of refugees registered or awaiting registration with the UN fleeing the civil war in Syria has passed the one million mark, the United Nations announced on Wednesday.
Including those who are not registered, the number is thought to be much higher, with nearly half of the refugees under the age of 18.
It is thought there are over two million internally displaced within Syria.
"With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster," adding "this tragedy has to be stopped," the UN's high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres, said.
Those escaping the civil war have sought refuge in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
Figures from the UN show that those escaping to Lebanon have increased the country's population by ten per cent. Lebanon still does not have any official refugee camps.
Speak to Al Bawaba, the UNHCR's representative to Jordan, Andrew Harper reiterated calls for more support for agencies dealing the large influx.
"We are struggling with a lack of support from the international community, we are facing a crisis," he said.
Jordan alone has over 400,000 refugees, increasing the pressure on resources which are already overstretched in a country struggling with a weakening economy.
110,000 thousand are residing in the Zaatari refugee camp near Mafraq, 15km from the Syrian border. The rest are living in urban centers dotted along the 370km Syrian border.
The crossing of the one million mark happened much sooner than was previously predicted. UN planners had been working on the milestone being reached by the end of June this year but the increased intensity in fighting has forced thousands to flee. 400,000 have sought refuge since the start of 2013 alone.
In January the UN requested $1.5billion to help Syrians in neighboring countries by the end of June. The surge now means that operations are currently funded at 25 per cent.
The lack of finance is starting to inhibit the UNHCR's ability to deal with refugees.
"We are running out of blankets, we can no longer buy fuel for the border guards to help pick up the refugees, we are running short of money to build more latrines" Harper said, adding "we need the money already pledged to support the number we already have, and more money to continue to support the next million that cross in to neighboring countries."
- More than 700,000 Syria refugees now in neighboring countries
- The truth behind the UN's $1.5bn aid pledge to Syria
- 1.4 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries - UNHCR
- wfp welcomes a us$ 1 million donation from the usa to western saharan refugees
- Jordan to declare "disaster zone" over Syrian refugee influx