GENEVA - The United Nations gave its starkest warning yet on Friday that it would soon run out of cash to cope with the vast influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan and other neighboring countries.
"The needs are rising exponentially, and we are broke," Marixie Mercado, spokeswoman for the UN Children's Fund UNICEF, told a UN news conference in Geneva.
The number of people fleeing in the world's worst refugee crisis has repeatedly outrun the UN's expectations. The 1.25 million refugees, three-quarter of them women and children, is 10 percent higher than had been expected by June.
With more than 3.6 million people internally displaced within Syria and no end to the two-year conflict in sight, there is every chance that the exodus could keep growing.
"Since the beginning of the year, more than 2,000 refugees have streamed across the borders (into Jordan) every day. We expect these numbers to more than double by July and triple by December," Mercado said.
"By the end of 2013, we estimate there will be 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Jordan - equivalent to about one-fifth of Jordan's population."