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Grim milestone in Lebanon as Syrian refugee population hits one million

Source: Reuters - Thu, 3 Apr 2014 17:44 PM
Author: Reuters
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Syrian refugees pour into Lebanon.

Many have left behind all they had. Now they face a future of simply surviving.

On Thursday, a grim marker in this country of four million -- this man becomes the one-millionth refugee.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MILLIONTH SYRIAN REFUGEE IN LEBANON, YEHYA CHAKER CHARKIEH, SAYING:

"The number one million is too big for Lebanon. Refugees inside Syria move from one area to another, and when they flee to Lebanon, they find it very hard here. One million is too big for Lebanon."

After three years of conflict, Syria's war has caused one of the greatest upheavals seen in the Middle East and there is no end in sight.

Ninette Kelley works for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR LEBANON FOR OFFICE OF UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR), NINETTE KELLEY, SAYING:

"Today we have passed a devastating marker: we have just registered the millionth refugee here in Lebanon alone. There are over 2.5 million Syrian refugees in the region, over 6.5 million Syrians inside Syria displaced. The extent of the human tragedy is not just a recitation of numbers, but each one of these numbers represents a human life, who like us have lives like our own. But they've lost their homes. They've lost their family members. They've lost their sense of future."

The total number of Syrian refugees has been estimated at 2.6 million -- which some say understates the scale of the exodus - meaning Syrians will soon overtake Afghans as the world's biggest refugee population.

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