More than a million Syrians have fled their war-ravaged country and need assistance, the UN refugee agency said today, warning that a "full-scale disaster" faced the region.
Syria's two-year crisis has killed tens of thousands, left many more wounded and internally displaced more than two million.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in Geneva that its figure was based on reports from his agency's field offices in neighbouring countries.
"With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiralling towards full-scale disaster," Mr Guterres said.
The number of refugees has swelled dramatically this year, with most pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
More than 400,000 people have become refugees since January 1 and often arrive in neighbouring countries "traumatised, without possessions and having lost members of their families."
Around half are children, the majority of them under the age of 11.
"We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched," he said. "This tragedy has to be stopped."
The UN estimated in December that 1.1m Syrian refugees would arrive in neighbouring countries by the end of June this year.
At the time, the agency's regional response plan was only 25 per cent funded.
In Beirut, UNHCR regional co-ordinator Panos Moumtzis said that 7,000 Syrians had been crossing into neighbouring countries every day since December.
This has stretched resources and has made the refugee crisis one of the fastest deteriorating situations in decades.
"When you stand at the border crossing, you see this human river flowing in, day and night," Mr Moumtzis said
The UN refugee agency badly needs money to help host countries manage the refugee population, he said, adding that, of the $1 billion (£662m) for aiding Syrian refugees that had been pledged at the Kuwait donor conference in January, only $200m (£133m) had come through.
"We are getting desperate," Mr Moumtzis said.
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