According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the there has been a dramatic escalation in the Syrian refugee crisis which is engulfing not just Syria but destabilizing other countries in the region.
There has been rapid increasing in the number of people fleeing the Syrian civil war to camps in neighboring countries. The numbers do not include those people who have fled and sought shelter at camps within the border. The UNHCR estimates that within Syria nearly 4 million people have been displaced and the scale of the crisis is enormous with no end in sight.
In response Oxfam has raised its Syria Crisis response to a Category 1 emergency. The escalation is not meant to generate publicity. What it means is that on the ground humanitarian teams which between them have decades of experience dealing with various types of emergencies have said given the scale of human suffering and the complexity of the situation, the response by Oxfam and other organizations needs to be at the highest level. Category 1 is a crisis level which means that internally Oxfam staff need to show priority to Syria related work.
To put category one in perspective, Oxfam very rarely raises disaster to that contignecy level and the last time this decade it has done so was during the Asian Tsunami in 2004. The scale of that emergency was revealed by footage which prompted the UK public to show unprecedented generosity, donating nearly £1 million per hour in the immediate aftermath of that disaster.
Other Category 1 crisis are just as important but tend to get overlooked such as the East African food crisis in 2011-2012. The reasons for that are complicated and this is the case with Syria without horrific illustrations that define the crisis and crystallize civilian situation in that country.
UN data can fill the void and help illustrate the extent of the human tragedy unfolding which goes to show the extent of the crisis which is huge. If you would like to donate to Oxfam Syria appeal just click on the link