1 Million Children Have Left Syria, U.N. Says

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Hadi Mizban / AP

Syrian refugees cross into Iraq at the Peshkhabour border point in Dahuk, Iraq, on Aug. 20, 2013.

The number of children who have fled Syria since the conflict began is greater than the entire of population of the state of Delaware, according to the United Nations.

The UN statement released today offered yet another lens into the extent of devastation in Syria, as the conflict there draws renewed international scrutiny following allegations that the government forces used chemical weapons in an attack on rebels that killed hundreds of people.

In total, about two million refugees have left Syria since the conflict began in mid-2011, according to the joint statement from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and UNICEF, the UN program for humanitarian aid to children.

“This one millionth child refugee is not just another number,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the statement. “This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend.”

The international community has struggled to arrive at a uniform response to the conflict in Syria, though allegations of chemical weapons could, if confirmed, turn the tide toward a more active intervention. U.S. President Barack Obama said last year that the use of chemical weapons was a “red line,” and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius recently suggested the use of force was on the table—though he ruled out ground troops—if Wednesday’s allegation are confirmed.

(PHOTOS: The Plight of Syrian Refugees Outside Zaatari Camp in Jordan)

UN inspectors are in Syria investigating previous claims of gas attacks, and the U.S., concluding on its own that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons, began supplying rebels with weapons in June.

But the UN says international humanitarian efforts in Syria, including providing water, education, health care, and registration papers, already mark the largest such operation ever. Humanitarian organizations have ensured education for more than 118,000 children, provided water supplies to more than 222,000 people, and registered all 1 million children, preventing them from becoming stateless, according to the joint statement.

UNHCR and UNICEF are calling for more than $5 billion in funding, including $3 billion for the Syria Regional Refugee Response plan for 2013. That project, which joins UNHCR with 126 partner organizations,  is only 38 percent funded to date.

At least 100,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, UN chief Ban Ki Moon said last month, including 7,000 children. Another 2 million children have been internally displaced within Syria.

Syria’s refugees have flowed into neighboring countries at dizzying rates. To date, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have each absorbed about half a million Syrians, and UNHCR predicts they will each have 1 million refugees by the end of the year.

The Zaatari refugee camp has become the 4th largest city in Jordan, where as many as 3,000 Syrians stream in every day. Another camp, capable of housing 130,000 refugees, is going up in al-Azraq, east of Amman.

“All of the worst-case scenarios that we had for the situation in Syria and the number of people coming into Jordan were continually passed,” Andrew Harper, the top liaison between UNHCR and the Jordanian government, told Time reporter Andrew Katz.

PHOTOS: Syria’s Slow-Motion Civil War

75 comments
maxirabor
maxirabor

@TIME @TIMEWorld can the world afford another long drawn out conflict and the subsequent rebuilding of another society. While ours crumbles?

Georg Spalt
Georg Spalt

It is time to stop all that in the name of us all!

Jennifer Wappler
Jennifer Wappler

i hope that the plumpy nut product is being made available to all kids in the refugee camps BEFORE they get malnourished?

Richard Dugan
Richard Dugan

We are still adjusting to leaving the trees.

Maria Isabel Cruz
Maria Isabel Cruz

Millions tibetans suffering the same since 1959!!!!!!!!!!!1 who cares?????

Marzouk Elsharkawy
Marzouk Elsharkawy

We the people of Egypt to fight terrorism now ..The international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which kill and destroy and burn public and private establishments, churches ...Strangely enough, the governments of America and Europe to help them ..Are you satisfied with it????

Nisar Ebrahim Rathod
Nisar Ebrahim Rathod

This is real ground reality happenings in Syria, only Syrians can feel the pinch of atrocities ...these dictators will fade away as time passes, but the remnants breeds extremism of highest degree, and finally the big target of all these oppression are to face music,.... behold ! Waves are to come f I really sure...no one can stop it. ?.it's a nature way to take toll.

Abdinaf Rashid
Abdinaf Rashid

The international community has duty to stop this catosrophy committed by ruthless cruelt and dictoter agains his own civilian people,and now chemical weapons so what is next, nuclear,he must be destroyed and brought to International court Crime against humanity.

Nikolay Nikolov
Nikolay Nikolov

Crocodile tears. First they instigate to war, sell weapons and train killers... Then they send reporters to the battle field... And at last someone thinks of the victims.

Sheena Palanivelu
Sheena Palanivelu

Reminds me of wot i read as a child: "we have not inherited this world from our ancestors but borrowed it from our Children." Its time we should remember this.

Marlene Tran
Marlene Tran

Men provoke wars but females & children SUFFER the most. So sad!

Sheena Palanivelu
Sheena Palanivelu

Sad news. I jus pray they finD a safe , secure and peaceful place in this world. .and learn that war n conflicts r meaningless. They r the future . . !

Lisa Cleary
Lisa Cleary

I sincerely felt shattered hearing this today...I asked God...to please , please do something...it is too heartbreaking...

Evon Esoj Zenodro
Evon Esoj Zenodro

i really dont understand what the hell they were fighting for....innocent and helpless one suffers!!!!

Muhammad Navid Ahmad Navid
Muhammad Navid Ahmad Navid

alqaeda are american'bonrns and now he want to finished them but can't do this .American and israelies are the no1 Terrorist in the world.

Paloma Savaengcharoen
Paloma Savaengcharoen

I heard Obama is accepting over 200,000 Syrian children & adults illegally into U.S. by next year! WOW (SMH)

Anton Elias
Anton Elias

The USA and EU call for stop violence against terrorism group! What’s happening? are there become blindly? Or become stupid more? Or Muslim Brotherhood is more intelligence to deceive them? Which 2 sides you talk about? are yoy talking to Israel and Hamas? From when was USA desperately standing for terrorism and terrorists? For which violence you talk about? While you do not condemn the burning of churches, killing Christian people, attacking police office and state's foundations and killing peaceful people by hands of terrorists Brotherhood? Did The USA really deceived? Or it wants what’s happening exactly? Excuse me all. The USA is not as stupid as itlook like! But it wage a clearly war against Egypt to catch up with Syria, Libya, Iraq and Sudan! I talked about USA management not American people

JS Holman
JS Holman

The more weapons, the less incentive to stop hurting one another.

Nathan Griffiths
Nathan Griffiths

Atleast this is real news and not the reporting of Ben Afflec as the new Batman.

Sithsense72
Sithsense72

@becksavirgo you saying that if the US,UK the French & Russia get involved it would spread the conflict to the region & ??????