In a queue that stretches far out of sight, these desperate Syrians are just some of the hundreds of thousands fleeing the devastating civil war.

The huge sea of refugees besieging a border crossing with Iraq is contributing to a growing humanitarian tragedy.

As Britain committed £348million in aid to help meet the mounting crisis, United Nations officials revealed two million refugees have fled their homeland with one person escaping across Syria’s borders every 15 seconds.

Disaster: The humanitarian crisis caused by the war is the worst since that seen in 1990s Afghanistan

Disaster: The humanitarian crisis caused by the war is the worst since that seen in 1990s Afghanistan

 

 

 

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees yesterday laid bare the scale of the suffering with more than one million children forced from their country.
Antonio Guterres said: ‘Syria has become the great tragedy of this century – a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.

‘It took two years to reach the first million refugees. It took six months for the second million to be reached. It means things are accelerating in a way that represents a dramatic humanitarian problem. The only solace is the humanity shown by the neighbouring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees.’

An average of almost 5,000 Syrians are fleeing into neighbouring countries every day, and officials warned of the need to significantly increase humanitarian aid and development support to host communities.

British money is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for more than one million people including those affected by the fighting in Syria and refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: ‘It’s shocking that there are now two million Syrian refugees. The number has doubled in the last six months alone.

‘Neighbouring countries who have accepted these refugees have shown huge generosity but also shouldered huge burdens. Britain has given its largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.

‘The international community must follow this lead and provide the long-term support needed for host countries to cope.’
In Syria itself, UK aid has already delivered food for more than 156,000 people affected by violence and shelter and relief items for 305,000.

In neighbouring countries, British support has provided safe drinking water and sanitation to almost 100,000 people in Jordan and Lebanon and shelter and essential relief supplies for more than 84,000.

 
Crossing over: Refugees arriving over the weekend in Turkey, which is one of the countries hardest-hit by the influx of fleeing Syrians

Crossing over: Refugees arriving over the weekend in Turkey, which is one of the countries hardest-hit by the influx of fleeing Syrians

 

 
Family: Many relatives have sought a new life abroad after constant fighting made it unsafe to stay in their homes

Family: Many relatives have sought a new life abroad after constant fighting made it unsafe to stay in their homes

 

 
Aid: UN workers hand out supplies to Syrians who have reached the Peshkhabour border crossing between their country and Iraq

Aid: UN workers hand out supplies to Syrians who have reached the Peshkhabour border crossing between their country and Iraq

 

The UN said that by the end of August, two million Syrians had applied to register as refugees – including 716,000 in Lebanon, 515,000 in Jordan, 460,000 in Turkey, 168,000 in Iraq and 110,000 in Egypt. More than half – 52 per cent – of the refugees are children aged 17 or under.

Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote on Twitter: ‘One year ago: 230,000 Syrian refugees. Today: 2,000,000. 1/2 children. If we don’t end the conflict, think what the figure could be next year.’

In addition to those who have left Syria during the two-and-a-half-year war, 4.25million people have also been displaced.

David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, warned that the humanitarian response to the situation in Syria is ‘dangerously underfunded’.

He said: ‘We urge everyone to focus now on the humanitarian aid needed to help repair the shattered childhoods of Syria’s children. We must provide them with some sense of hope and normality amidst this most awful of crises.’

 

 
 
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