Thousands more Syrians pour into Jordan as crisis worsens

Published April 28th, 2013 - 09:26 GMT
Syrian child at the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan (AFP)
Syrian child at the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan (AFP)

Thousands of Syrians fled to Jordan over the weekend as UN officials warned of relief agencies' inability to meet the needs of the rapidly growing refugee community.

According to the Jordan Armed Forces, some 1,000 Syrians crossed into Jordan early Saturday, following an influx of some 2,000 on Friday.

Some 150 injured Syrians were among the weekend’s arrivals, Jordanian security sources said.

Meanwhile, the UN has renewed warnings that relief agencies are increasingly unable to keep up with the growing needs of a refugee community that is growing by some 5,000 persons per day.

In a Geneva press conference on Friday, Paul Spiegel, deputy director of the UNHCR's programme department, announced that intensified fighting has pushed the regional refugee population to over 1.4 million, warning that UN agencies are struggling to meet the community’s growing humanitarian and healthcare needs.

“We cannot deal with all cases and the costs,” Spiegel told reporters.

"We will prioritise paying for a woman's delivery instead of paying for treatment of a cancer patient with a poor prognosis. That is bad, but we have to do it. These are hard decisions," Spiegel told Reuters.

Acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea are the most common ailments among Syrian refugees, three quarters of whom are women and children, the UNHCR said in its first report based on medical consultations in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, Reuters reported.

The current number of Syrians dispersed across the region is some 30 per cent greater than initial forecasts, according to the UN refugee agency, which has received less than half of a $1.5 billion refuee aid appeal to extend basic services through June.

Also on Friday, Jordan forwarded a petition to the UN Security Council urging the international body to address a Syrian refugee crisis that is posing a threat to the country’s economic, social and security sectors.

In the petition, filed by Jordan’s permanent representative to the UN HRH Prince Zeid, the Kingdom urged the international community to address the “grave humanitarian situation”, underlining that hosting the rapidly growing refugee community is expected to cost some $1.5 billion this year, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Around half-a-million Syrians have taken refuge in the Kingdom since the onset of the crisis in March 2011.

By Taylor Luck

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