Marking a tragic milestone, the United Nations said in a statement on Thursday, July 9, 2015 that over 4 million Syrians have fled to other countries since the outbreak of civil war in their country more than four years ago.

The great Syrian emigration is the second largest since 1992, when the exodus from Afghanistan recorded a staggering 4.6 million population being displaced.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees is describing it as the world’s single largest refugee crisis for nearly a quarter of a century.

At least an additional 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria.

“Worsening conditions are driving growing numbers towards Europe and further afield, but the overwhelming majority remain in the region”, Guterres said.

Harper emphasized that countries involved had to figure out ways to keep the Syrian refugees productive.

In the meantime, the Syrian conflict has entered in its fifth year, while there seems to be little hope for peace in a country that violence has left more than 220,000 people dead. The more than 1.8 million Syrians in Turkey have made it the biggest host of refugees in the world, an expensive undertaking that the country is bearing mostly out of its own treasury.

“Not included, are more than 270,000 asylum applications by Syrians in Europe, and thousands of others resettled from the region elsewhere”, UNHCR said. UNHCR and partners appealed for $5.5 billion in humanitarian funds, but received only around a quarter of the requested amount.

Around 86 percent of all refugees living outside of camps in Jordan living below the poverty line of $3.20 per day, and 55 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living in sub-standard shelters, it said.

UNHCR said the figures were based on new arrivals in Turkey and updated data from the authorities on refugees already in that country.

As they become increasingly impoverished and desperate, more and more of them are engaging in “negative coping practices”, including child labour, begging and child marriages, it warned.

“We can not afford to let them and the communities hosting them slide further into desperation”, Guterres said.