The Syrian war is the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. With little prospect of being able to safely return to their homes in the short term, and growing hardship in host countries, Syrians are confronted with desperate circumstances. Over 4.25 million are internally displaced. Millions of other Syrians inside the country are impoverished and lack medical aid and other necessary items. More than 2.1 million refugees have sought protection in neighboring countries. Lebanon and Jordan are the countries hosting the highest number of asylum seekers from Syria both in absolute terms and relative to their own population. Neighboring governments hosting Syrian asylum seekers and the humanitarian community as a whole face an increasingly challenging and complex humanitarian crisis which, beyond asylum seekers’ immediate protection and assistance needs, threatens the balance of the entire region.
As Syrians, Palestinians and Kurdish from the over torn country seek asylum in other countries, finding shelter is a pressing challenge for newcomers and for refugees that have depleted their savings, as the availability of affordable accommodation and host family arrangements are diminishing. On roadsides and vacant plots across the country, a growing number of informal settlements are absorbing the poorest of the new arrivals. Conditions are difficult with families often lacking access to clean water and sanitary facilities.
The Syrian exodus has also reached Europe, where thousands arrive on boat from North Africa coasts. The sea is seen as the only way out for many. It is a precarious journey, often at the mercy of a sea, which is unforgiving and more so when one has set out in a wooden boat not meant for such passage.