By the end of 2012 there may be up to 700,000 refugees in countries adjacent to Syria according to a UN official. Aid groups claim that almost a half billion dollars is needed to operate until the end of the year.
Panos Moumtzsis, the chief co-ordinator for Syrian refugees, for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) predicted that by year's end the number of Syrians fleeing the country could more than double from the present 300,000: Moumtzsis said:"There may be up to 700,000 Syrian refugees in neigbouring countries by the end of the year. We are running out of time". This is almost four times the original forecast.
The cost to provide aid for these refugees will soar to $487.9 million according to aid agencies, just to operate to the end of this year. At present, only $141.5 million is on hand, less than thirty per cent of what is needed.
As winter approaches there will be a need for blankets, winterized tents, and heaters so that refugees can deal with harsh winter conditions in many areas. According to Moumtzis, 294,000 have already fled the conflict to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey. Moumtzsis said: “This is a significant outflow taking place, 100,000 people in August, 60,000 in September and at the moment 2,000 or 3,000 per day or night.” The UNCHR's June forecast for the year was already surpassed in August.
The uprising against the Assad regime began a year ago in March. Activists claim that so far about thirty thousand people have been killed. While the countires of the world may be unable at present to prevent the conflict from continuing, they do have the power and resources to meet the urgent needs of refugees.