Exiled Syrian refugees top one million mark, mostly kids
The international community continues to fail the victims of this crisis.
One million refugees from Syria have now been counted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Most have fled to Jordan, and Turkey, however regions as far away as North Africa and Europe are seeing their share of the influx. Emergency services are strained to the limit and states are paying out much more than they are receiving in aid.
Refugee camps are filled with women and children. The men are either fighting or dead.
Within Syria there are millions of uncounted refugees roaming the country, looking for someplace peaceful to settle. The conflict has killed an estimated 70,000 people so far.
Many of the refugees, about half, are children under the age of 11. The young are the most vulnerable to trauma as the flee their homes are destroyed and property lost. Many have only intermittent access to clean water and sanitary conditions and food is becoming increasingly difficult to find. The specter of hunger is omnipresent.
Countries such as Jordan and Turkey have taken in the greater portion of the refugees, spending money their treasuries lack to sustain the burgeoning populations. Turkey says it has spent $700 million on refugees since the crisis began and has been reimbursed only $89 million with foreign aid.
Turkey is not a rich nation and its coffers and cupboards are becoming bare.
The same can be said for Jordan.
Just one year ago, the UN predicted a dire crisis in the region as 33,000 refugees were counted. Predictions were made that if the conflict persisted the number of displaced people could spiral into the millions.
Pleas for assistance from the rebels have gone mostly unheeded, as fear over Russian and Chinese backlash have kept potential allies at bay. Still, the rebels are receiving some assistance including arms and equipment from international allies. However, Assad remains as entrenched as ever and rebel progress has slowed to a crawl.
Ultimately, the trauma of the Syrian people is a black mark of shame for the international community. Russia and China have supported a ruthless dictator well beyond the point of political prudence, and the international community has failed to assist the rebels in dealing the decisive blow, thus prolonging the crisis by months, if not now a year or more. Worst of all, the international community is failing the refugees, mostly children, by sending paltry aid to the victims of the crisis.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, death toll, human rights, United Nations, refugees, shame, aid
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