In what is being called the worst migration crisis since World War II, millions of people across the Middle East and Europe have been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in another country. Almost four million Syrians have fled their country, and countless others have been displaced from their communities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Ukraine, and other countries in the past few years.
Successfully escaping a dangerous environment is only the first challenge for refugees. They face peril while traveling, particularly if they do not have a legal route to safety, and must somehow find food and shelter in a new area that may not be prepared to support a sudden influx of immigrants. They’re often unable to bring much with them on their journey, and are therefore left in need clothing and other everyday necessities, such as basic medical care. In addition to these critical needs, being uprooted from your home can be emotionally traumatic, particularly for children.
How You Can Help
If you’re looking for a way to assist the millions of people who have been displaced and are struggling to both stay alive and build new lives for their families, we’ve compiled a list of organizations that are actively working to help:
- The Migrant Offshore Aid Station: Based in Malta, this team of trained rescuers and paramedics provide assistance to migrants in danger on the sea. and have partnered with the well-known humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders. Both groups are currently operating search and rescue vessels in the Mediterranean.
- UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) and UNHRC (the UN Refugee Agency): Both provide assistance to refugees in need and advocate on their behalf to a wider global network.
- Save the Children: A nonprofit which advocates on behalf of children aroudn the world; They have been helping to provide food, clothing, shelter, and supplies to refugee families in several Middle Eastern countries.
There are certainly many other organizations doing good work, and many other ways you can help – particularly if you live in a country that is a common destination for refugees. Check with local immigration or refugee centers, or organizations like your country’s Red Cross or Red Crescent society.
When the global community issues a cry for help, the kindest thing we can do, if nothing else, is help spread the word. And if you’re able, we hope the above resources will provide even more ways of lending a hand.
Image: European Commission DG Echo/Flickr