To grasp the scale of Syria’s refugee crisis, consider mornings at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan: Young boys climb barbed-wire fences to gain better spots in distribution lines, as UN World Food Program workers hand out a half million pieces of pita bread.
More than 120,000 refugees live in the camp, making it the second largest refugee camp in the world. The influx of war victims has swelled the area to the fourth largest population center in Jordan. The UN reports that running the camp costs nearly $1 million a day.
Now consider this: Most Syrian refugees don’t live in refugee camps. The masses in the Zaatari camp represent a small fraction of more than 2 million Syrians who have fled their war-torn country in the last two years. That’s nearly 10 percent of Syria’s population.
War has displaced another 7 million Syrians who remain in the country. (At least 100,000 people have died in the conflict.) Aid workers expect that a significant portion of the displaced Syrian citizens may flee the country as well.
It’s a massive calamity that the UN calls the world’s worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Read more at http://www.worldmag.com/2013/11/outside_the_camps