HEADLINES: Refugees

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button_icon_refugee_headlinesWhile 2012 may be over, the Syrian refugee crisis is far from it, and Jordan is struggling to provide services for the victims continuing to stream over its border.  In fact, according to the U.N.H.C.R., 80 percent of Syrian refugees across the region are not housed in camps and many live in grim apartments along narrow dirt roads. The flood of refugees is straining the limited resources of the Jordanian government and aid agencies, though agencies say they are also trying to steer funds to poor Jordanians. There are currently over 150,000 registered refugees in Jordan.  [New York Times]

The fighting between the Burmese government and Kachin rebels escalated about two weeks ago, as the government used fighter planes and helicopters to mount attacks and seized one of the guerrillas’ hilltop outposts.  The violence has only continued since then, and more and more of the Kachin people have been displaced, fleeing the violence.  Last Thursday, Kachin support groups sent a letter to the Red Cross, claiming that “their government was utilizing Chinese airspace for its offensive, and that the Kachin could not flee to safety because China had closed the border to them, while Myanmar’s government blocked relief assistance.”  Over 100,000 Kachin have been displaced since the conflict began two years ago. [Associated Press]

Lebanon is now home to over 170,000 Syrian refugees, and has asked foreign donors for $180 million to help care for them, and will now register and recognize refugees.  Lebanon has not taken a strong stance on the Syrian crisis before, fearing destabilization in their own country, so this marks the first “concrete plan” the Lebanese government has taken towards addressing the influx of refugees arriving from Syria. Lebanon had previously given formal recognition to Syrian refugees who entered via official border points, but not to those who had crossed illegally, either because they feared authorities or to escape violence near their homes.  [Reuters]

Five more people were killed outside the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus.  Clashes began less than a month ago, but already dozens have been killed in the violence that has included airstrikes and artillery shelling from the Syrian military and clashes between the loyalists and the military. Since the violence began, about half of the 150,000 residents of Yarmouk have fled. [Associated Press]

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