New Zealand has agreed to take 100 refugees from Syria after the United Nations called on the international community for help.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said that the humanitarian situation in the country was deteriorating by the day.

He said 100 Syrians in need of urgent protection would be resettled. The refugees would be part of New Zealand's annual quota of 750.

"New Zealand's annual refugee quota includes places reserved for emergency resettlement from large-scale crisis situations, if required, for exactly the type of situation we are seeing in Syria,'' Mr Woodhouse said.


Potential refugees would be interviewed and undergo security screenings. If accepted, they would begin a six-week resettlement course at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

The first refugees were expected to arrive in the second half of this year.

The Government has already contributed $12.5 million to help Syrians displaced by the conflict, which has now lasted nearly three years.

Some of this funding was directed to Unicef operations in neighbouring countries Jordan and Lebanon, where education and health services had been established for fleeing children.

Around 2.3 million Syrians have fled the country in total, and this figure is expected to rise to 4.1 million by the end of this year.

Another 6.5 million people were believed to be displaced within the country.