U.N.: Syria Crisis Is “Biggest Humanitarian Emergency of Our Era”

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 30 2014 11:17 AM

U.N.: Syria Crisis Is “Biggest Humanitarian Emergency of Our Era”

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Syrian refugees sit in the back of a pick-up truck as they drive through the Lebanese village of Labweh in the Bekaa Valley.

Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images

Three million people have been forced out of Syria amid the country’s civil war, one million of whom have escaped in the past year, says the United Nations. Even though the Syria crisis “has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era” the international community “is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. The astounding figure means that one in eight Syrians have crossed the border to flee, details the Associated Press.  

As shocking as the number may be, the refugee crisis is only one part of a larger humanitarian emergency. Some 6.5 million Syrians are estimated to have been displaced inside the country, reports Reuters. That means “almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives,” according to the U.N. refugee agency. Although donors have already forked over $4.1 billion to help people engulfed in the crisis, at least an additional $2 billion is needed by the end of the year, notes CNN. The latest figures come a week after the United Nations said there had been 191,369 documented killings in Syria from March 2011 until April of this year.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.