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UN launches appeal for Syria

The United Nations has issued a request for US$1.5bn to help support 5m Syrians displaced by the Syrian conflict. The UN has said that it needs US$519.6m to support 4m people internally displaced in Syria and a further US$1bn to support 1m people who, the UN believes, will be seeking assistance from relief workers by July 2013. It says that this is the 'largest short-term humanitarian appeal ever'.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said 'I am considering convening an international donor conference---early next year in New York.' The UN's regional humanitarian director for Syria Radhouine Nouicer told a Geneva press conference 'The violence in Syria is raging across the country and there are nearly no more safe areas where people can flee and find safety.'

The UN's World Food Program is currently feeding 1.5m people today within Syria but the WFP director of emergencies David Kaatrud told the press conference that 'food processing, milling, bakeries rely on fuel electricity to produce a bread product, so any interruption of infrastructure is going to be cause for concern.'

525,000 refugees in four countries - UNHCR

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said that there are 525,000 refugees registered with it in countries around Syria. Most are in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan but there are now 10,400 registered refugees in Egypt. The UNHCR believes that there are many more refugees who have yet to register.

Panos Moumtiz, the UNHCR regional refugee coordinator told the press conference 'I just came from the borders where I was shocked again one more time to hear the horrific stories that refugees tell us about their experiences fleeing violence, fleeing insecurity. We're talking about women and children, entire villages that are uprooted and flee to safety to the neighbouring countries.'

More than half of the displaced people are under the age of 18, the UN says. Part of the funding will go towards schooling in the refugee camps that have sprung up close to Syria's borders.

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