Rada Hallabi, 4, who is sick with diabetes, lies on a blanket in a refugee camp on the border with Turkey, near Azaz village, Syria, Sunday
GENEVA — With tens of thousands fleeing Syria every month, the number of refugees worldwide in 2012 is set to be the highest this century, according to a senior United Nations official.
Antonio Guterres, the body’s High Commissioner for Refugees, told his UNHCR agency’s executive committee Monday that its ability to cope was being stretched to the limit.
“Already in 2011, as crisis after crisis unfolded, more than 800,000 people crossed borders in search of refuge — an average of more than 2,000 refugees every day,” the former Portuguese prime minister said.
That total had been the highest since the turn of the century “and so far this year more than 700,000 people have fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan and Syria”, Guterres said.