In the past few years, the world has witnessed a growing refugee crisis. More people have been forced to flee their home than at any time since the Second World War. Refugees have fled armed conflict, persecution, violence and grave human rights abuses. Yet their home states will not or cannot protect them. Of the 60 million forcibly displaced, nearly 20 million are refugees worldwide who have crossed an international border… Half are from Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan. More than 50% are under 18 years old. So far in 2015, more than 876,000 refugees have reached Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea: 144,000 arrived to Italy and 728,000 to Greece. 3,551 people died trying crossing.
We are sure you have seen the images of women, men and children traveling thousands of miles in the most horrific conditions and risking their lives on unseaworthy wooden fishing boats as well rubber dinghies, as well on buses and overcrowded trains and of course by foot to reach Northern Europe. The biggest number of refugees pass through the Eastern Mediterranean route, the busiest one at the moment. The countries they travel through are Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary/Slovenia, Austria and Germany. They either stay in Germany or try to move on to Sweden, UK, Belgium or the Netherlands.
We are sure you have also seen the lack of commitment on behalf of leaders worldwide. International organizations are struggling to cope which is why volunteers have decided to take matters into their own hands and help fill the gap. Medical students, lifeguards, fishermen, mothers, fathers and many other kind-hearted people have come together, united with one goal- to save as many lives as possible. For real.
Since so many people have been asking for months HOW they can help from far, our first MERA’s effort is to gather all the different grass-roots crowd funding aid & advocacy initiatives, organizing them on this website according to countries and keeping them updated for you. We are not only listing initiatives aimed to refugees in Europe but also, and most crucially so, life-saving projects that tackle the desperate need of civilians and relief workers in distress inside Syria, as well as refugees in the Middle Eastern region.
Those who cannot afford the very expensive trip are left behind. There is where their tragedy begins: more than 7.6 million Syrians and more than 3 million Iraqis are displaced within their own country. 12 millions Syrians and 8 million Iraqis are living in very dire conditions and are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. They are stripped of shelter, money, clothes, food, water, electricity. They go through the most painful struggles in undignified ways.
Over the past five years, 4 million Syrians and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis became refugees in neighboring nations such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. This massive influx is currently bringing their social infrastructure to a breaking point — denying desperate families entry, detaining, abusing and deporting them back into war zones. This has been forcing hundreds of thousands of refugees in the region to make a very difficult choice: stay and struggle with very difficult lives in camps and in overcrowded host communities or try and make it to Europe.
Alongside the Syrians and Iraqis fleeing conflict and violence at home and pouring to Europe, many Afghans too are giving up on their country. Afghans constitute the second highest number of recent arrivals after Syrians: the civil war continues unabated , the government is floundering and the country is risking an economic downturn. Many of the Afghans arriving in Europe are coming from Pakistan, where there are still 1.5 million registered and 1 million unregistered Afghan refugees from the wars of the 1980s and 1990s. As Pakistan is also exhausting its coping capacities and might not be able to host refugees beyond the end of 2015, many Afghan families (but also Pakistani families themselves) are leaving the country to take the perilous bus ride through Iran and Turkey to try and reach Europe by sea.
Please choose the efforts you would like to support, click on the link and donate. Your help is incredibly important especially at a time when governments and official organizations are failing and so leaving a void. We can fill it together!! On behalf of the tireless and committed leaders of the different initiatives we would like to tell you a big THANK YOU. You are making the difference in the life of one family right now.