UNHCR chief warns Security Council of “terrifying” situation for Syria

(GENEVA) April 18, 2013 – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, warned the United Nations Security Council today that without an end to the fighting soon, almost half of Syria’s 20.8 million people could be in need of humanitarian help by the end of this year.

In an address to the Council by video-link from Geneva, Guterres said 400,000 refugees had fled Syria in the last seven weeks, bringing the population of Syrians registered as refugees or waiting to be registered to 1,367,413. If current trends continue, he said, then by the end of the year there may be up to 3.5 million Syrians refugees, together with 6.5 million people inside Syria who may be in need of help.

“These figures are terrifying,” he said. “This is not just frightening, it risks becoming simply unsustainable. There is no way to adequately respond to the enormous humanitarian needs these figures represent. And it is difficult to imagine how a nation can endure so much suffering.

“I know that, as High Commissioner for Refugees, I should confine my remarks to the scope of my mandate,” he added. “But as a citizen of the world, I cannot refrain from asking: Isn’t there any way to stop this fighting, to open the door for a political solution?”

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