Refugees are fleeing because situations in Syria or in their host countries have become intolerable. Host countries that have been supporting them, primarily Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, are small countries and their resources have been stretched to breaking points. Governments and UNHCR are struggling to provide basic interventions for refugees.
The UN Refugee Agency has identified seven major factors behind the recent spike in the number of Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Europe. These include loss of hope, appalling living conditions, feeling unsafe, high costs of living, limited job and education opportunities, aid funding shortfalls, and hurdles to renew legal residency.
Amin Awad, Director UNHCR Bureau for Middle East and North Africa, said "Refugees face horrible living conditions, and restrictions in the legal regimes for refugees in the countries where they live … When people don't have proper shelter and are living on 45 cents a day of course they want to move," he told a press briefing in Geneva.
How You Can Help
The refugee crisis is a global problem that will require support and resources from both the public and private sector. There are record global numbers of people fleeing war, conflict and persecution –now close to 60 million people–primarily driven by the Syria crisis.
UNHCR humanitarian workers are working hard in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Turkey and other countries in Europe to receive and assist the more than 500,000 new refugee arrivals fleeing countries affected by violence and conflict. At the same time, we continue to provide desperately needed aid and services in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and across Africa where refugees continue to need critical services and basic life-saving aid.
We’ve recently joined with The White House, Kickstarter, Airbnb and Instacart to raise awareness and funds for the issue. More on these partnerships and how to get involved can be found here: http://bit.ly/1Z8Nqgx
The preceding is a guest post by Executive Director and CEO at USA for UNHCR, Anne-Marie Grey. USA for UNHCR supports the work of the UN Refugee Agency and its partners in life-saving and life-changing work to help refugees and other displaced people in more than 125 countries around the world. Anne-Marie brings more than 30 years of fundraising and marketing experience – both in the United States and internationally – to USA for UNHCR. Appointed in September to lead the organization and enhance its programs and resources, Anne-Marie is committed to mobilizing efforts in support of the over 50 million men, women and children that have been forced to flee their homes around the world.