The number of Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon officially topped 1 million Thursday in what the United Nations called a "devastating milestone." With a population of about 4 million, this constitutes about a quarter of Lebanon's resident population and has made it so that Lebanon now has the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said, "The influx of a million refugees would be massive in any country. For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering."Reuters notes that:
School-aged refugees eclipse the number of Lebanese children in the country's state schools, the UN says, and 2,500 new refugees are registered every day.
"The extent of the human tragedy is not just the recitation of numbers," UNHCR representative Ninette Kelley told reporters in Tripoli. "Each one of these numbers represents a human life who ... have lost their homes, their family members, their sense of future."These one million in Lebanon are in addition to the estimated 2.6 million Syrian refugees spread around Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and a few other places. Nor do these numbers take into account the estimated 6.5 million internally displaced persons within Syria. If we start with a population of 22 million people, subtract about 150,000 who have died (although not all of these are Syrian), the 3.6 million refugees account for 16 percent of the population, and the internally displaced account for an additional 30 percent. This means that nearly half of Syria's population has had to move because of the conflict.