UN Warns Half the Syrian People on the Move

UN Warns Half the Syrian People on the Move
Sat Sep 12, 2015 14:34:45

Peter Salama, Unicef’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, predicted there will be a further massive influx of refugees unless the Syrian war ends.

More than 430,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe this year, official figures show.

He said: ‘There could be millions and millions more refugees leaving Syria and ultimately (going) to the European Union and beyond.’

A record 432,761 refugees and migrants are estimated to have made the journey across the Mediterranean to Europe this year, the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration said yesterday.

Many were packed into rubber dinghies, with about 2,750 drowning. By contrast, only 197,940 people made the dangerous sea crossing in the whole of last year.

Half of those crossing this year have been fleeing Syria’s war, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). About 240,000 Syrians have died in the conflict in the past four and a half years.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler on debate about how many Syrians are likely to seek asylum in the EU said: ‘We are far yet from millions. I think we should be very careful about inflating the numbers.’

Some 500,000 people arriving in Europe --- The Mail

Almost 8 million people are displaced within Syria, and another 4 million are registered as refugees in neighbouring countries, primarily Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.Some 250,000 Syrians have sought safe refuge in Iraq. 

The UNHCR is trying to help the countries dealing with the crisis at the edge of the EU. The agency is sending prefabricated homes to provide temporary overnight shelter for 300 families in Hungary. Fifty pre-fab family homes have also arrived in the Greek island of Lesbos, 300 are being sent to Kos, and 50 have arrived in Macedonia.

Meanwhile, Austria partially shut a highway linking Vienna and Hungary yesterday, citing security concerns. Austria’s rail link to Hungary will also remain shut over the weekend because of ‘massive over-burdening’ by migrants.

Hungary is racing to construct a fence along its border with Serbia by early next month to help stem the tide. It also plans to implement tougher immigration rules.

Also Britain will take fewer than 1,000 extra Syrian refugees this year, it emerged last night.

David Cameron pledged that Britain would take 20,000 extra Syrian refugees by 2020. But government sources last night said fewer than 1,000 were likely to be offered new homes before Christmas.

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