Understanding the global refugee crisis

Understanding the global refugee crisis

There are currently around 70 million people in the world who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to violence, war or persecution. That means every minute, 24 people are forced to leave their homes.

Around 25 million of them are refugees who have been made to flee their homelands and seek support in new countries – and half of this number are children under the age of 18.

This mass movement of people has been referred to as the global refugee crisis.

What is the global refugee crisis?

There have always been refugees, but the numbers of people fleeing their home countries has been growing in recent years due to wars, famine and intolerant attitudes. In 2017 more people were forcibly displaced than ever before, and number of refugees was 58% higher than it was. This has created a crisis of an unprecedented scale, where countries refugees are fleeing to simply don’t have the resources to support them. This in turn is leading to refugees being forced to take terrible risks in order to survive and find places where they can begin to rebuild their shattered lives.

Where are the refugees coming from?

Wars are the main reason that people are being forced to flee their homelands, and right now there are a number of brutal conflicts raging which are contributing to record levels of people being displaced. 

It may come as no surprise then that Syria is currently the number one source of refugees, with over six million people having been forced to flee the country since civil war broke out there in 2011.

There are more than two million people who have been displaced by the conflict in Afghanistan, and the same number have been made refugees in South Sudan. Myanmar and Somalia each also have more than one million people fleeing across their borders to find safety elsewhere.

Where are the refugees going?

Turkey is the country that currently hosts the largest number of refugees, followed by Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon and Iran. In terms of the geographical regions that host the most refugees, both Africa and Europe offer shelter to the largest number of refugees.

What are we doing to help them?

The UK takes in a relatively small number of refugees each year (just over 33,000 last year) but wherever refugees end up, they face the same problems. They have to adjust to life in a new country and to a culture that is more often than not completely alien to them. Many of them will have experienced unimaginable trauma and seen things no child should have to see. Most of the time they don’t speak the language of the new country they find themselves in, so they can’t do many things that we take for granted: ask for directions, buy food, make friends, get medical help.

Our services across the country make sure that refugee children who arrive here get the support they need to overcome their harrowing experiences and rebuild their lives. Our specialist project workers provide young refugees with:

  • Counselling and mental health support
  • Mentoring and befriending schemes
  • Help with learning English
  • Support with legal and immigration issues
  • Orientation around their local area
  • Social and creative activities and opportunities
  • Education and life skills support

Find out more about our services and the work we’re doing to support young refugees.