The United Nations says one million Syrians have fled their homeland since a revolt erupted two years ago.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says a year ago it had only registered 33-thousand refugees.
This year alone, already in excess of 400,000 more Syrian refugees have fled the country of about 22 million.
Kerri Worthington reports.
The official one-millionth refugee is Bushra, a 19-year-old from Homs.
“We are living now in Lebanon, Tripoli. Our situation is so bad, everything is so expensive, we can’t find any work… The situation is so bad, I live with 20 other people in one room.” “We want to go back to our country, go back to Syria, we wish for the crisis to be resolved and live in peace.”
But Bushra is far from being the last refugee from Syria.
Even as she and her two children were registered with the UNHCR in Tripoli, several hundred families — mostly women and children — were lined up behind her waiting their turn.
The UNHCR representative in Lebanon, Ninette Kelly, says by highlighting that the number of refugees has passed the million mark, the organisation hopes to remind the world of how serious the situation is in Syria.
“A million represents a million individual lives, a million individual lives who have been uprooted in a great sense of tragedy and loss that accompanies that flight from violence and insecurity.”
Lebanon is the smallest of the Syria’s neighbours but is the country that has received the most refugees.
The UNHCR says almost 330,000 people are sheltering in Lebanon.
Nearly as many are in Jordan, while others have fled to Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, says the huge numbers of refugees has had a big impact on Syria’s neighbours.
“One can imagine in the most sensitive region in the world what impact the Syrian crisis has and if we want to avoid an explosion in the Middle East, if we want to guarantee the peace and the stability in the countries around, it is very important to find a political solution for the Syrian crisis before things gets much worse than what they are now.”
While the Syrian situation continues to be a major topic of discussion at the United Nations Security Council, and among the nation members of the Arab League, refugee workers are busy making the lives of those who’ve fled a little less miserable.
In one of the biggest camps, Zaatari in Jordan, homesick young refugees are flocking to a Youth Empowerment Centre that opened last October.
It’s operated by the International Medical Corps psychological support program.
The head of the program, Ahmad Bawaneh, says children account for almost 60 percent of the refugees, most of whom have witnessed unimaginable difficulties.
“They arrive here, some of them harbouring feelings of anger, or feelings of sadness that are not extreme enough to be considered a psychological illness. However, in our opinion these children need social and psychological support, and this is why we opened these centres, as they offer the opportunity for them to have social initiatives that may help them adapt to the situation, and may help others as well.”
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