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U.N. official: 5 million Syrians need help

  |   Jan. 18, 2013 at 9:01 AM
DAMASCUS, Syria, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Almost 5 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance because of the conflict between the government and opposition forces, a United Nations official said.

Regional Refugee Coordinator Panos Moumtzis said 4 million Syrians are in urgent need of help and the number of refugees from the violence-torn country is expected exceed 1million by June.

"That represents over 5 million people, that represents over a quarter of the population -- one in four," Moumtzis said.

The United Nations appealed for $1.5 billion for humanitarian needs for Syria in December but the goal is only 5 percent funded, Voice of America said.

The money would provide for basic needs including water, food, medical care, shelter and blankets.

Moumtzis said the refugee numbers are growing by about 3,000 per day.

Without generous support the United Nations won't be able to help the Syrians most in need, officials said.

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