Up to 700,000 Syrian refugees by year-end: UN agency
GENEVA (AFP) - The United Nations (UN) refugee agency warned on Thursday there could be as many as 700,000 Syrian refugees in countries neighbouring the war-torn nation by the end of the year, up from 300,000 now.
"There may be up to 700,000 Syrian refugees in neigbouring countries by the end of the year," Mr Panos Moumtzsis, the UNHCR's chief coordinator for Syrian refugees, told reporters in Geneva. "We are running out of time."
Faced with the soaring need for aid, humanitarian agencies upped their call for funds on Thursday to $487.9 million (S$600 million) to sustain their operations until the end of the year.
At present, only US$141.5 million in funding is available, just 29 per cent of the overall request, Mr Moumtzsis said, stressing the urgency of the appeal in the face of an "overwhelming increase" in the number of refugees fleeing the 18-month conflict.