Now four million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries

As of today more than four million Syrians have now fled the crisis in Syria and have become refugees in neighbouring countries, according to newest numbers from UNHCR. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) says that this is now the time for the international community to step up and take responsibility for the humanitarian consequences.

With the new numbers, the Syrian refugees have become the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. It is only 10 months since the total of three million was reached. UNHCR expects the figure to reach almost 4.3 million refugees by the end of the year.

”This is a global crisis and therefore it needs global responsibility and not least international burden sharing. With neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan hosting around 95 % of the Syrian refugees, it is time for the international community to step up and give the Syrian refugees the support they deserve and help shoulder the heavy burden their countries are carrying. We see an increasing numbers of Syrian fleeing to Europe and even though the numbers are nowhere near the ones being hosted in the neighbouring countries, this is the time for the international community to proactively make joint solutions for the Syrian refugees living under dire conditions,” says Peter Klansø, Regional Director, MENA for DRC.

The Syrian crisis has been labelled as the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time by the UN. And with the civil war in Syria extending into the fifth year it can be difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel. For 2015 as a whole UNHCR and partners have appealed for US$ 5.5 billion. However, as of late June, only around a quarter of this has been received.

”We've marked four anniversaries for the war in Syria. We've marked the first million refugees, the second and the third – and now we are counting more than four million Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries. Additionally we have 7.6 million IDPs inside Syria, caught in the war. This shows by all means that it is a long and on-going crisis but also that it is time to step up for the international community. The humanitarian consequences are a result of failed politics and hence it is time to take responsibility and action,” says Peter Klansø.

With 1,8 million refugees in Turkey, 1.2 million in Lebanon and almost 700.000 in Jordan, the neighbouring countries are taking the heaviest burden upon their shoulders.

”What we see is how the region and, not least, individuals can make tremendous efforts locally to help out Syrian refugees. We've previously launched an Everyday Heroes campaign which gave attentions to those who are making a difference every day. Whether it be the Lebanese chef who has served 190,000 meals for Syrian refugees for free or the journalist in Jordan who has been giving radio time to the Syrian refugees and let their voices be heard. At the same time this shows that we need to reframe our thinking of refugees from being a burden, but also look at them as opportunities,” says Peter Klansø.

The Danish Refugee Council is one of the largest INGO's working around the Syrian crisis. With presence inside Syria, as well as neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq and transit countries such as Libya and Tunisia, DRC's almost 1,000 staff members in the region deliver protection, shelter and NFIs, WASH, education, food, income generating, humanitarian mine action and AVR activities for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.