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‘Syria refugees face more health risks’

Syrian refugees at Jordan's Za'atri camp (file photo)

Source : Presstv / 20 May 2013

International aid organization Oxfam says the hotter weather will increase health-related risks for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

In a statement issued on Monday, Oxfam made an appeal for urgent funds for the refugees who continue to flee to Jordan and Lebanon, AFP reported.

The temperatures are likely to rise up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the coming days.

"The health risks must be urgently addressed,"Oxfam said.

"Increased cases of public health-related diseases such as diarrhea and skin infections have already been recorded in host communities and temporary settlements where an increasing number of refugees now live,"it added.

Oxfam said it is "crucial to ensure funds are in place to provide refugees with shelter, clean water and adequate sanitation."

The aid organization added that it is aiming to raise $53.4 million (41.6 million euros) over the next year.

"Providing safe water, appropriate sanitation facilities and access to health care is costly. It's time for the key donors to wake up and face that reality,"said Rick Bauer, regional humanitarian coordinator of Oxfam.

"The sad reality is that the vast majority of Syrian refugees are not going home soon. It is also crystal clear that host communities in Lebanon and Jordan need urgent help."

Bauer said Oxfam is "starting to really worry about the health of Syrian refugees".

"The aid effort must be properly funded and focused on providing refugees with affordable and decent places to stay, where they can live with dignity. That's priority number one for refugees and host communities alike,"he said.

On Friday, the United Nations refugee agency announced that the number of Syrian civilians who have fled to other countries to escape violence in their homeland has exceeded 1.5 million.

“The Syrian conflict continues to have a devastating impact on the lives of those who are forced to flee,” Dan McNorton, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters at a press conference in Geneva.

The UNHCR has registered close to 1 million refugees since the beginning of the year -- about 250,000 people each month.

The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes in Syria.


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