The number of refugees fleeing Syria\’s bloody civil war has surged past the 2 million mark, with almost 5,000 people crossing into that country\’s neighbors every day, according to a new report from the United Nations Refugee Agency issued Tuesday.
In a statement Tuesday, UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres called the situation "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity" not seen in recent history.
Most of the refugees have gone to neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, where governments have had to cope with the strain of hundreds of thousands of people in need.
The U.N. says many of the refugees are leaving Syria with little more than the clothes on their back, and that half of them are children. It has made appeals for international aid, but said Tuesday it has received only 47 percent of the money required to meet the basic needs of the refugees.
With another 4.25 million people displaced within Syria, the conflict has forced more than a quarter of the country\’s population to leave their homes.
The crisis that began in March 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad\’s rule has left more than 100,000 people dead.