1 million and counting
March 6, 2013 by Ned Colt
|A young Syrian refugee at an International Rescue Committee women's center in Arsal, a town of 40,000 people in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. As much as 80 percent of those fleeing Syria have settled in urban areas rather than refugee camps. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC|
AMMAN, Jordan -
There were no balloons or a band to welcome this 1 millionth arrival. Frankly? We’ll never know who the millionth refugee was. That said, we are able to make some calculated guesses.
Odds are it was a child, because 52 percent of those fleeing Syria are 17 or younger. That means about 3,500 children are currently fleeing Syria every day. We can be fairly confident he or she crossed under the waning crescent moon early this morning, because the chances of being shot by Syrian troops drop after dark. We know that the millionth is now in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq or Jordan because those four countries are the first stops for all Syrian refugees. That said, given how many refugees are in each of those countries, and how they are straining resources and having a difficult time surviving, more refugees are heading further afield. Witness the fact that there are some 32,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt now, up from 13,000 in January.
What is clear is that refugees are going to find a more difficult time getting by in the months ahead. While the joint United Nations and humanitarian organization appeal has met its pledge amount of 1.5 billion dollars, today it remains less than 20 percent funded. As this report in yesterday’s Washington Post underscores, refugees are already being impacted by the lack of funding. No brass band or balloons awaited the 1 millionth, but let’s hope all 1 million can have access to water, electricity, food and education. It is not too much to ask.
Syrian Refugee Crisis: Latest on the crisis and how the IRC helps
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