UNHCR reports more Syrian refugees in all neighbouring countries

News Stories, 10 August 2012

© UNHCR/A.McDonnell
UNHCR's Representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper shows the UK Secretary of State for International Development the system set up to ensure that families are all provided with the proper assistance.

GENEVA, 10 August (UNHCR) UNHCR's offices in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq are all reporting increases this week in the number of refugees from Syria, with the confirmed outflow now approaching 150,000.

"UNHCR data, which primarily reflects those among the refugee community who have registered or are in the process of being registered, shows a total population of 146,667 people as of August 9th," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters.

"In several countries we know there to be substantial refugee populations who have not yet registered," he told a news conference.

In Turkey, the refugee population has now exceeded 50,000 people (50,227), with more than 6,000 new arrivals recorded this week alone. Many are from Aleppo and surrounding villages, but others are from Idlib and Latakia. While the main flow is into Turkey, around 8,000 people returned home voluntarily during July mainly to villages in Syria's Idlib area.

On August 6 the Turkish government opened a new camp at Akcakale. It has also announced its intention to double overall reception capacity from the current 50,000 people to 100,000 people with the construction of as many as 13 additional sites. Currently refugees are hosted in nine camps, with women and children accounting for more than two-thirds (72 percent) of the population.

In Iraq, there are now 13,730 refugees. Most of the arrivals this past week are in the Kurdistan region (720 people), although 596 refugees were recorded further south in the Al-Qaem area. Most of the people are from the Qamishli and Hassakeh areas of Syria.

In the Kurdistan area, one third of the refugees are being housed in a camp at Domiz and others are living with the community. Once a new camp is established in Al Qaem, the refugees, presently in a school, will be relocated there if they have no opportunity to be hosted by the community. Another camp is being considered near Rabia at Al-Kasis.

A growing number of Iraqis are also returning from Syria, including 2,993 who have come back since the start of August. Since mid-July, 23,228 Iraqis have left Syria to return home.

In Lebanon, 36,841 Syrian refugees are now either registered or assisted, but many thousands who have recently arrived in Lebanon are not yet registered with the UN refugee agency. Information campaigns and the dissemination of our Office's registration hotline continue in border villages to encourage newly arrived families in need of protection or assistance to come forward and register.

In Jordan the number of refugees has now reached 45,869 people, with 3,891 of these having arrived so far in August. Of the registered population, most have come from the Dara'a or Homs areas of Syria. Typically this population comprises farmers, housekeepers, and small business owners.

All new arrivals are now being transferred to the camp at Za'atri, where the population has now reached 4,414 people. UN and NGO partners including the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization are working to improve living conditions in the camps, which at present are difficult.

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2008 Nansen Refugee Award

The UN refugee agency has named the British coordinator of a UN-run mine clearance programme in southern Lebanon and his civilian staff, including almost 1,000 Lebanese mine clearers, as the winners of the 2008 Nansen Refugee Award.

Christopher Clark, a former officer with the British armed forces, became manager of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre-South Lebanon (UNMACC-SL) n 2003. His teams have detected and destroyed tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and tens of thousands of mines. This includes almost 145,000 submunitions (bomblets from cluster-bombs) found in southern Lebanon since the five-week war of mid-2006.

Their work helped enable the return home of almost 1 million Lebanese uprooted by the conflict. But there has been a cost – 13 mine clearers have been killed, while a further 38 have suffered cluster-bomb injuries since 2006. Southern Lebanon is once more thriving with life and industry, while the process of reconstruction continues apace thanks, in large part, to the work of the 2008 Nansen Award winners.

2008 Nansen Refugee Award

Muazzez Ersoy

Muazzez Ersoy

Crisis in Iraq: Displacement

UNHCR and its partners estimate that out of a total population of 26 million, some 1.9 million Iraqis are currently displaced internally and more than 2 million others have fled to nearby countries. While many people were displaced before 2003, increasing numbers of Iraqis are now fleeing escalating sectarian, ethnic and general violence. Since January 2006, UNHCR estimates that more than 800,000 Iraqis have been uprooted and that 40,000 to 50,000 continue to flee their homes every month. UNHCR anticipates there will be approximately 2.3 million internally displaced people within Iraq by the end of 2007. The refugee agency and its partners have provided emergency assistance, shelter and legal aid to displaced Iraqis where security has allowed.

In January 2007, UNHCR launched an initial appeal for US$60 million to fund its Iraq programme. Despite security issues for humanitarian workers inside the country, UNHCR and partners hope to continue helping up to 250,000 of the most vulnerable internally displaced Iraqis and their host communities

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