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The staggering numbers behind the global refugee crisis continue to worsen

By Oxfam
Basterna, 40, from Raqqa in Syria washes clothes by hand at an informal settlement for Syrian refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

New report by UNHCR shows a deepening crisis

Today, UNHCR released a new report revealing that the number of displaced people has increased by about 300,000 in the past year to 65.6 million—the worst since the UN started keeping its numbers.

“The sheer scale of the global refugee crisis is shocking,” said Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor. “These new figures prove that more people need support than ever before. While the pace of displacement has slowed in the last year, suggesting that countries are tightening the screws which may be making it more difficult for people to flee across borders and seek refuge, there certainly hasn’t been notable improvement in those countries that are suffering from conflict and deprivation. The war in Syria continues into its 7th year, tens of millions are caught in an unprecedented human-made hunger crisis, and other deadly violence and natural disasters continue to force innocent people from their homes around the globe.”

These new numbers underscore that the global community must immediately offer stronger lifelines to these vulnerable people as they flee for their lives, and also work together to tackle the root causes of the problem. Despite the growing number of people forced from their homes, President Trump’s administration, and many in Congress, seek to slam the door shut on refugees and halt the resettlement program.

“A cornerstone of the founding values of the United States was to offer oppressed people refuge from violence and persecution,” said Gottschalk. “As Americans we must open our minds, hearts, and borders to vulnerable refugees. We are calling on our leaders to protect the US refugee resettlement program. The international community’s ability and will to support them is also just as poor, if not worse, than ever. There is a lot to learn from the communities in crisis themselves, who open their doors and share what little they have with others, and countries like Uganda, who has welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees.”

Oxfam has worked to help more than 6.7 million people in conflict-affected countries in the past year. Over the next year, the world will negotiate a new UN deal on refugees and migrants and to succeed, it must commit nations to share equal responsibility for the protection of all those forced from home.

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