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Refugee Crisis Update

The world is witnessing an unprecedented level of global displacement as millions of people are forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict and disaster. 
The media continues to tell the distressing stories of the thousands of refugees who are making the terrifying journey across the Mediterranean seeking sanctuary and protection in Europe. Many, including children, have lost their lives as they attempt to reach Europe.

Sorley McCaughey

Now in its fifth year, the Syrian conflict has displaced half the country’s population. Over 12 million people inside Syria are reliant on aid.

Countries in the region are hosting an overwhelming number of refugees. More than one million Syrians are living as refugees in Lebanon. Iraq is coping with more than 3 million Iraqis who have been displaced by conflict in the country, and are also host to around 250,000 Syrian refugees.

Last April, Rosamond Bennett, Christian Aid Ireland CEO, visited Christian Aid partners in Iraq.

'I met women refugees from Syria and heard many distressing stories, stories of how families fled the conflict with just the clothes on their backs. Each family, desperately hoping that they would find safety and a community that would welcome and help them. These families had hopes of returning home when the conflict ended. More than four years later, the conflict continues and they are still living in refugee camps and host communities.'

'It is challenging. Every few months, there is a new influx. We do as much as we can,' says Hero Anwar, senior programme officer with Christian Aid Iraqi partner REACH.

Christian Aid partners have been supporting displaced families and refugees in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon since March 2013.

They have provided humanitarian assistance including food, hygiene kits, water sanitation, blankets and cash-for-work for thousands of vulnerable families. Our partners are also providing psychosocial support to children and women affected by the conflicts.

In Lebanon and Iraq, our partners continue to support Syrian refugee communities. Working in host communities and informal settlements, and with refugees who aren’t often receiving other aid, they have provided food, hygiene items, infant kits, fuel for cooking and cash assistance, as well as much need psychosocial support to help people process what they have seen and experienced.

Sorley McCaughey

In Europe, we are supporting our ACT Alliance partner agencies to provide much needed relief and support to refugees arriving at some of Europe’s borders, exhausted, hungry and with little in the way of possessions. 

In Serbia, our partner Philanthropy (Charitable Foundation of the Serbian Orthodox Church) is working in Presevo on the Macedonian-Serbian border, registering up to 1,700 refugees a day.

In Belgrade, Philanthropy is supporting local partners in distributions, while also working on the Croatian border in Sid, and in Negotin and Zajecar on the Bulgarian border.

In Greece, our partner IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) is working on the Greek Islands with refugees arriving from Turkey. They are providing sleeping bags, food, water and baby kits, and are working to improve conditions in reception centres.

The refugee crisis demands decisive leadership from EU governments. Christian Aid is urging the EU to ensure safe passage to refugees; welcome and adequate support; and political action to bring a lasting solution to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Last September we renewed our refugee crisis appeal. To date we have raised €29,000 from the Republic of Ireland and £58,000 in Northern Ireland. Thank you, your generosity is making a huge difference.

Please help us continue to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of refugees in Europe, and in the Middle East.

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