The Refugee crisis in Europe and Middle-East. With the compassion and generosity of our supporters, the IRC has worked tirelessly to address the unprecedented challenges of this emergency. Indeed, since early 2012 we have reached more than 4.2 million people across the region—inside Syria and in neighboring countries where Syrians have taken refuge—with lifesaving services and support. The world was awakened to the enormity of the crisis in the summer of 2015, when thousands of desperate refugees, most from Syria but also from other war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, began making dangerous sea crossings in flimsy, overcrowded boats in hopes of reaching safety on the shores of Europe. Thousands, tragically, did not survive the journey.
The Refugee crisis in Europe and Middle-East
The IRC was one of the first organizations to deploy a team of experts to the Greek island of Lesbos, both to assess the most urgent needs and to launch a comprehensive response. With the number of vulnerable people quickly multiplying, the context on the ground changing daily, and resources stretched to the limit, the IRC called on our supporters for assistance. In September 2015, we issued a special $33 million emergency appeal to address the growing needs. To date, we have raised $43 million to support our efforts.
The war in Syria, now in its sixth year, has at this writing claimed more than 250,000 lives and forced more than 11 million civilians—half of the country’s population—from their homes, sparking the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Of those who have fled, an estimated 6.6 million people are living precariously within the country and 4.8 million have sought refuge beyond Syria’s borders. Living under the constant threat of violence, those who remain inside Syria face increasingly dire circumstances. Bombs have destroyed countless hospitals, schools and homes. Five million people lack adequate food, water and medicine. The vast majority of Syrian refugees (95 percent) have fled to neighboring Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. Unable to work legally in these countries, many live in poverty. Most lack access to even the most basic services, such as health care and education, and they must rely on humanitarian assistance just to survive. In the absence of sufficient funding from the international community, the four countries hosting more than four million Syrian refugees are buckling under the strain.