(NEW YORK) — Syria’s growing humanitarian crisis is getting too much for the United Nations and surrounding countries to manage, the world body revealed on Thursday.
Filippo Grandi, the head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, predicted that if the conflict continues, his agency and Syria’s neighbors won’t have the resources by the end of 2013 to deal with the influx of people trying to escape the violence and deteriorating conditions.
The U.N. estimates that over 1.3 million people have fled Syria since March 2011, the majority seeking safe havens in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
All told, it’s believed at least 3.6 million Syrians have left their homes and neighborhoods as government forces and rebel fighters battle for control of the nation.
Lebanon has been especially impacted by the war, with an estimated 500,000 Syrian refugees seeking safe haven there. The country has also become a refuge for tens of thousands of Palestinians who have fled Syria.
Back in the 1970s, the same kind of situation led to a long Lebanese civil war. Palestinians currently make up about 10 percent of Lebanon’s population of four million.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Oren Liebermann, CNN Newswire
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN