This week, the world’s eyes have turned to the Syria-Turkey border, where tens of thousands of Syrians have fled the Assad regime’s crackdown and are now living in refugee camps hastily assembled by the Turkish government.
The growing Syrian refugee crisis is undoubtedly grave and the media attention it has garnered is welcome. But, this situation joins a long list of unresolved refugee crises around the world, some of which have been festering for year. Just think Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, DRC, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe/South Africa.
According to the NGO Refugees International, there are at least 15.2 million refugees in the world today. This number is certainly lower than it has been in the past, but this is simply a reflection of the changing nature of the global refugee crisis.
The old paradigm of refugees in camps with agencies providing services in a self-contained environment is no longer the reality. Much more common today are internally displaced persons (IDPs) – refugees living in their own countries who must rely on their governments, rather than international organizations, for aid.
There are more than 27.1 million IDPs in the world today. Not sure about you, but I find that a truly frightening statistic.