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Since the conflict in Syria began in March of 2011, 2 million of the country's citizens have become refugees in foreign countries, according to the U.N. But that only scratches the surface of the scale of the crisis.

That number, released on Tuesday by the United Nations Refugee Agency, is itself misleading. Two million refugees — but 1.8 million over the last 12 months. That's 5,000 people a day — the majority of them kids.

The number of two million represents Syrians who have registered as refugees or who are pending registration. As of end August this comprised 110,000 in Egypt, 168,000 in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon, and 460,000 in Turkey. Some 52 per cent of this population are children aged 17 years or below. UNHCR announced only days ago, on 23 August, that the number of Syrian child refugees had exceeded a million.

They're the lucky ones. Agence France-Presse reported on Monday that some 110,000 people had been killed in the conflict, about 40,000 of whom were civilians. That data comes from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported that 240 people were killed on Sunday alone.

In the abstract, these figures are understandably large but hard to comprehend. So we've made the following tickers, representing the rate at which people have sought refuge or been killed under two timeframes. The first? How those numbers have added up since midnight.


For those of you on Capitol Hill, some added context. Here's the number of refugees and deaths since the president called for a congressional vote on American intervention. Intervention, mind you, which is not intended to completely curtail either tragedy.


Or, perhaps more revelatory, here is the data since the president gave his now-famous "red line" speech, last March.


Photo: UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meets with Syrian refugees.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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