UN refugee chief warns of "terrifying" humanitarian situation for Syria

Listen /

A young Syrian refugee at a reception centre after crossing into Jordan with his family. (© UNHCR/J.Kohler)

The head of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres, has warned the Security Council of what he called a "terrifying" humanitarian situation for Syria.

Mr. Guterres, who addressed the Council by video-link on Thursday, said that 400,000 refugees have fled Syria in the last seven weeks, bringing the number of Syrians registered as refugees or waiting to be registered to over 1.3 million.

He said UNHCR, together with its 60 partner organizations and host states, is preparing its regional response to assist the ever growing number of refugees.

Mr. Guterres told the Security Council that the UN humanitarian agency is updating its plans to help people inside Syria.

"This process is still ongoing but the preliminary planning figures are terrifying. If nothing changes at the present rhythm there may be up to 3.5 million Syrian refugees by the end this year and probably up to 6.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country. This is not just frightening, it risks becoming simply unsustainable. There is no way to adequately respond to the enormous humanitarian needs these figures represent."

Mr. Guterres said humanitarian funding needs have become so urgent that governments would need to look at extraordinary funding mechanisms to avoid the international response capacity becoming overwhelmed.

Gerry Adams, United Nations

Duration: 1'36"

Filed under Today's News.
UN Radio Daily News Programme
UN Radio Daily News Programme
Updated at 1800 GMT, Monday to Friday
Loading the player ...


  1. Migrant deaths increase globally in 2014
  2. Normalization of US-Cuba relations "heartily" welcomed by UN Chief
  3. Disaster-related deaths in Asia-Pacific rise three-fold in past decade
  4. Young working migrants resented in industrialized countries
  5. Women held for spouses' crimes in South Sudan
  1. Daily News 18 December 2014
  2. "Different approach" needed to support Syrians
  3. Young working migrants resented in industrialized countries
  4. Disaster-related deaths in Asia-Pacific rise three-fold in past decade
  5. Afghan women and children casualties rise in 2013
  6. This is a pivotal moment for Afghanistan, says UN Chief
  7. Return to "normal development agenda" in Afghanistan
  8. Afghan election "opportunity" to engage internationally
  9. Suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan condemned by UN
  10. UN envoy highlights international support to Afghanistan
  11. Senior UN officials condemn attack on journalists in Afghanistan
  12. Afghans urged to show patience and respect for electoral institutions and processes during polls: Ban
  13. UN human rights chief calls for action to end violence against women in Afghanistan
  14. "Significant progress" made in Afghanistan
  15. Envoy affirms UN support for women's participation in Afghanistan elections
  16. Attention needed on sustainable livelihoods in Afghanistan: UN envoy
  17. Afghanistan elections "true historic moment", says UN top envoy
  18. "Abhorrent" Afghanistan suicide bomb attack condemned by UN
  19. Security Council condemns deadly attack in Afghanistan
  20. UN envoy urges Afghans to vote in run-off poll
  21. Afghanistan reports progress and challenges in stamping out violence against women
  22. UN pays respect to four UN staff members killed in Afghanistan
  23. The 2014 elections are at the forefront of political life in Afghanistan: UN envoy
  24. Over 6,000 people flee from Pakistan to Afghanistan


December 2014
« Nov