Syrian Refugees Flooding Surrounding Countries; Open Doors Reaching Out to Displaced
The Associated Press reported today that the massive numbers of Syrians fleeing the four-year civil war has stretched the resources of neighboring countries and raised fears of violence spreading in the region.
The U.N. estimates there are nearly 2.7 million Syrians registered in neighboring countries, with more than 67,500 more awaiting registration. There also are hundreds of thousands who are not registered. Syria had a prewar population of 23 million. According to Open Doors, an estimated 500,000 Christians have fled their homes in Syria for surrounding countries.
The Associated Press takes a look at Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries:
Lebanon is officially home to more than 1 million refugees, with many more not on the books scattered around the country in informal tent settlements, old construction sites and underground parking garages. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says Lebanon, whose population is about 4.5 million, has the highest per capita concentration of refugees recorded anywhere in the world in recent history. Despite grave risks to its own stability, Lebanon has kept its border open to the refugees. But the sheer numbers are straining health, education and housing services to the brink of collapse.
Jordan has nearly 600,000 registered refugees, and the numbers are growing daily. Most are in two encampments near the northern border with Syria; a third, Azraq, opened Wednesday. The largest is Zaatari camp, with a population exceeding 120,000, where refugees are under direct care of the U.N. and the Jordanian government. Azraq, which was built to host 130,000 people, will outstrip Zaatari once full.
Turkey has more than 722,000 registered refugees. Ankara has been funding and managing the refugees, who have been sheltered in 22 camps complete with schools, medical centers and other social facilities. While Turkey’s border with Syria remains open, Turkey is carefully managing the flow, processing the new arrivals as more facilities become available.
Iraq has more than 221,000 registered refugees, the majority of them ethnic Kurds from Syria who found shelter in the autonomous Kurdish region in the north. Tens of thousands live in a camp of tents and cinderblock shacks near the border, while the rest have found jobs and homes in towns. The local Iraqi Kurdish government allows them to move around freely.
Egypt is home to more than 136,000 registered refugees, although officials estimate there are hundreds of thousands who are not registered.
Open Doors has been working along side churches and Christian partners to help refugees in such countries as Lebanon and Iraq as well as other countries worldwide such as Nigeria. Open Doors is providing shelter, cooking materials, clothing, food, safe havens for children and trauma counseling.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.