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Number of Syrian refugees likely to be higher than one million

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6 March 2013

The British Red Cross believes the true number of refugees who have fled Syria to be higher than the estimated one million being reported. Some refugees the Jordanian Red Crescent has come across are afraid of giving their names to anyone official. They are living in rented accommodation and makeshift tents away from official refugee camps.

Pete Garratt, British Red Cross disaster manager, said: “The escalation of this refugee crisis is shocking, but we know that the true figure is likely to be higher.

“Some Syrians will not have registered as refugees, either from fear or pride. We know that the Jordanian Red Crescent has come across families who are worried about giving their names to anyone official. People are living in urban areas, blending in with the local population.

“While we often see images of camps, the reality in Jordan is that two thirds of refugees are living in rented accommodation or makeshift tents. There is a hidden refugee crisis within the towns and cities of all Syria’s border countries.”

Increasing numbers and escalating needs

Since January 2013, the number of registered refugees on Syria’s borders has doubled. Over two thousand people are crossing into Jordan every day.

The number of people in need of aid within Syria has also more than quadrupled within one year. Pete Garratt continued: “Last March, the UN estimated 1 million people were in need of aid. Now, one year later, that figure is more than 4 million. The humanitarian crisis has grown dramatically, and we need to step up the response now.”

The British Red Cross is appealing for funds for Syria and the region, and has provided aid including ambulances, food, blankets and emergency shelter.

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