Breaking Down the Numbers of the Syrian Refugee Crisis
About the Author: Caroline Raclin is a Special Assistant in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) at the U.S. Department of State. She traveled with a joint State Department-USAID delegation to Turkey, Jordan, and Kuwait January 22-31, 2013.
It was near midnight. We were driving in the desert with no headlights, and Syria was 20 feet to my left. To the right was a mass of shapes — it took me a minute to realize I was looking at 850 Syrians who had just crossed safely into Jordan. One man was carrying designer luggage normally seen in airplane cabins; one girl had no shoes. I walked amongst these scared, war-numbed people, and it hit me that this was only a tiny portion of those leaving Syria.
Roughly 763,000 people have fled Syria — 240,000 to Jordan — and an estimated 2.5 million are displaced internally. Before that night, those numbers seemed horrific, but had little real meaning to me. They are round statistics, indicators of an escalating war. But after hearing a woman recall her husband’s death and a family describe their village being leveled by barrels of explosives, I better understood the scale… more »
On January 27 and 28, 2013, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard, and USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg visited Syrian refugees in Jordan. They visited the Zaatari refugee camp, a refugee processing center at a Syria-Jordan border crossing, and a food voucher distribution center.
The United States is committed to helping the innocent children, women, and… more »
President Obama announces an additional $155 million in humanitarian aid for those affected by the violence of the Assad regime. This aid from the American people is providing food, clean water, medicine, medical treatment, immunizations for children, clothing, and winter supplies for millions of people in need inside Syria and in neighboring countries.
On January 25, 2013, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard, and USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg met with Turkish partners and assistance providers to discuss the needs of Syrian refugees and ongoing humanitarian assistance efforts.
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford discusses his visit to Islahiye Refugee Camp and provides an update on the humanitarian situation in and around Syria during his travel to Ankara, Turkey, January 25, 2013. Read more about his trip here.
About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as DipNote’s Managing Editor.
Our “Photo of the Week” comes to us from Laurens Vermeire, a public affairs colleague accompanying a State Department and USAID delegation to Turkey and Jordan. The delegation includes U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford; Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard; and USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, Nancy Lindborg.
The photograph shows the delegation’s visit to the Islahiye Refugee Camp for Syrians near the Syrian-Turkish border in Turkey on January 24, 2013. During the visit, the delegation members spent several hours talking with camp residents… more »
I am pleased to announce that I’ll be visiting the region this week with colleagues from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. We’ll visit Turkey and Jordan to see the conditions of Syrian refugees.
At the same time, we’ll sit with governments, international organizations and NGOs working to help the Syrian refugees.
I also hope to have the opportunity to meet with many Syrians and hear directly from them about their circumstances.
Last week, when I was in Jordan, I was watching television and I saw a report on Al Arabiya about a Syrian father and his daughter, a young child, who died from the bitter cold — a very tragic story that affected me deeply. I shared this story when I returned to Washington, and I think… more »
Traveling to visit refugees, one expects to see and hear certain things. I recently visited a refugee camp in South Sudan, however, and it was the unexpected things I found there that made the deepest impression: the real challenges and steep cost of getting aid to the refugees.
In any refugee camp in Africa one will find people of all generations crowded together in shelters hastily erected from local building materials such as tree branches. Boreholes and pumps provide not only water, one of the basics to sustain life, but also serve as a gathering place for people and children who like to play. In the maternity areas of make-shift clinics, expectant mothers get counseling on staying healthy and babies are born.
Having read up on the Yida refugee site before visiting, I also knew that there had been reports of severe malnutrition among newcomers to the… more »
It is hard to be a refugee, but I think it must be even more difficult to be a refugee child, trying to learn and grow and enjoy childhood despite living in some of the most challenging circumstances on earth. On a trip to Kenya, I visited with refugee children in two very different locations: in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya and in a safe house in Nairobi for girls who are victims of violence.
In the large (103,000 inhabitants and growing) Kakuma Camp that shelters refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and other nearby countries, aid workers grapple with a big problem: there is little respect for the rights of children. Many children are forced to work, others are neglected or expected to raise little siblings and some suffer from other forms of exploitation. Too many have been orphaned or separated from their parents. Nearly all the children live precarious… more »
Today, on the first International Day of the Girl Child, it’s important to remember some of the most vulnerable girls in the world — those living in post-conflict or other humanitarian settings. The special vulnerabilities of young women and girls — to early marriage, unplanned pregnancies, gender-based violence and abuse — can all be exacerbated when the normal protections of organized societies break down during times of conflict or crisis. Humanitarians have a special responsibility to meet the needs of these girls, and the United States is working with our international and non-governmental organization partners to ensure those most in need of protection are not forgotten.
Our humanitarian assistance — including the provision of health, shelter, nutrition, and water and sanitation programs — supports the community, the family, and through this the whole child.… more »