UNHCR head says international community must share burden of Syrian refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Mon, Sep 30, 2013

The head of the UN refugee agency is asking the international community to do more to share the burden on Syria's neighbors, with a warning that the immense number of fleeing Syrian refugees is threatening those countries' social and economic fabric.

According to UNHCR, towards the end of September, Iraq had hosted more than 190,000 registered Syrian refugees. The UNHCR head said that host nations need far more than just an increase in humanitarian aid; they could require substantial financial help, including emergency development assistance for sectors like health, education, housing, water and energy.

"Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq have been sheltering an unrelenting flood of Syrian refugees, saving lives and providing protection. They have been generous hosts to their neighbors, but all of them are stretched to their limits," António Guterres, the High Commissioner for Refugees, told delegates attending a high-level opening segment of UNHCR's annual Executive Committee meeting in Geneva.

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