Syrian citizens continue to flee their homes and villages to escape a surge of violence that began earlier this week with the brutal killings of more than 100 people in Houla, many of them women and children.
The number of internally displaced people in Syria has more than doubled to 500,000 since the beginning of the April cease fire, according to the UN. Tens of thousands more have fled to neighbouring countries including Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey with some 4,800 refugees registering with UN regional centres in the last week alone.
The IRC is supporting displaced families in Jordan, where an estimated 30,000 Syrian refugees were living before this week’s escalating violence. While these famlies have made it to relative safety, living conditions remain challenging. As IRC Media Officer Ned Colt reported earlier, many of these families are scattered across cities, where they remain difficult to find and assist.
For journalists, the standard refugee scenario is the classic one. It’s where thousands of refugees are packed into tented border camps. That’s how Turkey has responded to its influx of Syrians. It’s a different scenario in Lebanon and Jordan, where other Syrians have fled. Neither country has large camps, and most of the refugees I speak with say, if there were, they would avoid them. Increasingly in our urbanised world, refugees are scattered across cities. It’s a phenomenon aid workers refer to as “urban refugees,” and it’s becoming the standard in contemporary humanitarian crises, where there’s not a coordinated, proactive response to a massive and sudden geographic shift of humanity. See full story
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Photos: Ned Colt/The IRC