Since ancient times, people groups have been forced to leave their homelands, to become refugees. One of history’s biggest refugee movements is happening right now as the people of Syria flee their war-torn homeland.
Martin Chulov writes:
With no end to the war in sight, the flight of nearly 2 million people from Syria over the past two years is showing every sign of becoming a permanent population shift, like the Palestinian crises of 1948 and 1967, with grave implications for countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, UN and other humanitarian aid officials say.
One in six people in Lebanon are now Syrian refugees. The biggest camp in Jordan has become the country’s fourth-largest city. In addition to those who have crossed borders, at least four million Syrians are believed to have been displaced within their own country, meaning that more than a quarter of the population has been uprooted…
The Syrian exodus has already surpassed almost every other refugee crisis that international organisations have dealt with in the past 40 years. The Yugoslav wars of the 1990s provide the closest parallel, with both conflicts having a strong ethnic-sectarian dimension and the crumbling of state control raising the spectre of partition (from “Syria’s Exodus: a Refugee Crisis for the World”).
It is estimated that there are 15 million displaced people in the world today. Two million of those are Syrian, over 25% of the country’s population.
At least half of those 15 million are children.
They and their families are at high risk for or already experiencing disease, starvation, exposure, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, enslavement, and psychological distress.
The countless Syrian children have become known as the lost generation.
But lost children are still children. They still have dreams and ambitions. They want to be able to go to school, play with friends, have dinner with their family. They want to grow up and live successful, fulfilling lives with homes, jobs, and families of their own.
Most importantly, they want to go home.
To learn more or to assist in the relief efforts aimed toward the displaced people of Syria, visit UNICEF to make a one-time or monthly donation or read Maeve Shearlaw’s recent article on how to donate to the Syrian crisis.