The head of the U.N. refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, says that seven million Syrians, nearly one-third of the nation’s population, has been displaced by the civil war that has been raging for almost three years. Over two million of those displaced are registered refugees, nearly half of whom are children under the age of 11.
Guterres called the Syrian refugee crisis “the great tragedy of this century, a disgraceful humanitarian calamity.”
On Tuesday, NBC’s Ann Curry joined NOW with Alex Wagner to discuss the conflict in Syria, the growing humanitarian crisis, and her experience reporting from refugee camps in the region.
Curry said the conditions in refugee camps like Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan (which is now that country’s fourth largest city) are “horrendous.” Curry said the conditions at Za’atari are so brutal that there are refugees there who are returning to Syria because “they’d rather die facing the possibility of shellfire than to live under those conditions in those camps.”
Although there has been some humanitarian effort to help Syrian civilians, Curry says, “the truth is, this has been too big, it’s come too fast, and there has been too much inaction.”
Curry compared the civil war in Syria to the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s, remarking that was “the last time we saw something this large, this fast.”