The number of refugees worldwide has reached its highest level for 18 years, according to the UN, with Syria the main cause behind a dramatic increase.
The conflict has created 1.6 million refugees and the number is rising all the time. The UNHCR says hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to continue providing basic needs for the Syrians.
On the eve of Thursday’s World Refugee Day the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres visited the Jordanian border and warned that the Syrian crisis posed a threat unmatched since the cold war.
“It’s very important that the world unites in supporting the countries like Jordan, like Lebanon, like Turkey, like Iraq, that are receiving these refugees, and that the international community understands that everything must be done to stop this fighting before it is too late,” he said.
The largest refugee camp in Jordan is at Zaatari in the north. Humanitarian agencies are struggling to cope with the needs of at least 120,000 people, mostly women and children.
Actress Angelina Jolie has visited the camp: “Every 14 seconds someone crosses the Syrian border and becomes a refugee, and by the end of this year half of Syria’s population – 10 million people – will be in desperate need of food, shelter and assistance,” she said.
Worldwide, more than 40 million people are refugees, seeking asylum or displaced in their own country.