Refugee and migrant crisis

Rosa, 20, and her baby, from Syria, near to the Croatian border. More than 110,000 migrants and refugees have entered into Serbia since last January. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam
Rosa, 20, and her baby, from Syria, near to the Croatian border. More than 110,000 migrants and refugees have entered into Serbia since last January. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

Millions of people are being forced to flee their homes, risking everything to escape conflict, disaster, poverty or hunger. We are working in nine of the ten top refugee source countries as well as in refugee host countries. We urgently need your help to reach people in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and in Europe.

A global displacement crisis

More than 65 million people around the world are now officially displaced from their homes – the highest figure recorded by the United Nations since the Second World War.

Between January and August 2016 alone, more than 100,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe via the Central Mediterranean, which is believed to be the deadliest migrant route in the world. Most of them traveled on smugglers’ boats departing from Libya, Tunisia, or Egypt, risking their lives in search of safety in Italy.

However, the vast majority of displaced people remain much closer to their countries of origin. Lebanon, with a population of 4.5 million people, is struggling to host 1.2 million Syrian refugees. This means that about one out of every four people living in Lebanon is a refugee from Syria.

Nearly five million people have been forced to flee the civil war in Syria. The fifth year of the conflict has been the worst yet for ordinary Syrians, as warring parties have continued to wreak havoc, increasingly blocking aid and putting more communities under siege.

Growing numbers of Syrians are living in difficult conditions in camps on the borders of both Turkey and Jordan. 1.5 million of them are in need of humanitarian aid. Adding to the pressures in the region is fighting in central and northern Iraq as well as conflict in countries such as Yemen, which has displaced many more families.

Oxfam's response

Many of the migrants and refugees reaching Europe face daily uncertainty and practical challenges, from basic information to the increasing risk posed by human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Most of them are women, children and elderly people. 

European border closures and restrictions have dramatically worsened the situation for these vulnerable people and created a humanitarian crisis. We have helped 282,000 people since the start of our operations in Greece, Serbia, Macedonia and Italy.

Ahmed and Fatima are from the city of Hassaka, Syria. Together with their two year old son they took the boat from Ezrin, in Turkey, to the Greek island of Lesbos. Ahmed is from the city of Hassaka, Syria. He, his wife and their two year old son took a boat from Ezrin, in Turkey, to the Greek island of Lesbos. Once there, they received humanitarian assistance from Oxfam, as well as information about their rights. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam.

Protecting new arrivals in Serbia and Macedonia

58,000 people have been left stranded in mainland Greece as well as nearly 5000 people in Macedonia and Serbia due to the implementation of the EU/Turkey deal in March 2016 and the border closure between Macedonia and Serbia.

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure that local organizations can provide adequate assistance and protection to new arrivals. We are distributing hygiene kits, clothing and other essential items as well as installing water and sanitation facilities and providing psychological support and legal counseling.

Providing emergency, legal and psychological support in Italy

The crossing to Italy is the deadliest sea route in the world. Despite this, tens of thousands people have arrived there since March 2016. On the mainland and Sicily, we are providing food, clothes, shoes, and personal hygiene kits as well as longer term psychological and legal support to new arrivals. We are also helping asylum seekers to find accommodation, learn Italian, and providing them with cash to meet their basic needs.

Helping refugees maintain their dignity in Greece

We started our operations in Lesvos in October 2015, as the humanitarian situation for people arriving irregularly from Turkey rapidly worsened, by providing clean water, sanitation, food and non-food items. We are currently providing humanitarian assistance in Athens, Lesvos island and the Epirus region of North-West Greece. Read more about our humanitarian response in Greece.

Tala, 2, from Ghouta, near Damascus in Syria, waits as her father collects drinking water from an Oxfam supplied water tank in Zaatari camp in Jordan.Tala, 2, from Ghouta, near Damascus in Syria, waits as her father collects drinking water from an Oxfam supplied water tank in Zaatari camp in Jordan. Oxfam helps some 25,000 of the residents by providing drinking water, toilets and showers. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam.

Life-saving emergency support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan

We have reached nearly half a million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with clean drinking water or cash and supplies, such as blankets, stoves and vouchers for hygiene supplies. We are helping families get the information they need about their legal and human rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services.

We are also providing clean water to Syrians inside Syria through the rehabilitation of infrastructure, water trucking and by repairing wells.

Support our work with Syrian refugees