Agencies: Refugee donations falling short

Oct. 27, 2012 at 9:22 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The coming of winter and the lack of donations is fueling fears that camps for Syrian refugees will not be adequately protected from the cold, aid groups say.

The number of Syrians seeking refuge in neighboring countries has far surpassed United Nations' projections and is expected to double to 710,000 by the end of the year, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The United Nations says a special fund it administers to care for the refugees has raised only a third of its $488 million budget.

Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq have accepted 360,000 people fleeing the conflict in Syria, said Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency in Amman, Jordan.

Those figures reflect only Syrians registered with the agency. Tens of thousands more are believed not to have registered out of fear of Syrian retaliation against friends and family still in the war-torn country.

Prefabricated housing units are en route to the Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan, where winter temperatures dip to near freezing. Winterization of the camp "should have started by now," said Daryl Grisgraber, a senior advocate for Refugees International in Washington who recently visited the camp.

The problem is compounded in Lebanon where there are no regular camps and refugees are living in abandoned buildings, said Robert Laprade, an official with Save the Children.

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