On September 8, 2020 a fire broke out in the refugee camp Moria, which not only had fatal consequences for the people living there, but also sparked off huge debates in the EU about who is going to host the stranded refugees. But it seemed that this debate was rather about which country most refuses on taking in the refugees.
The mayor of Vienna refused to take in 100 underaged refugee because he believes that we do not have the capacity for them. This led me to question how many people in this world are actually on the run and who takes them in. That’s how I ended up on the UNHCR website, which has the following numbers:
At the end of 2019 there were 79.5 million people who had to flee their homes, be it to a neighboring country, a neighboring town or to another continent. This number is huge and the largest number of people that ever had to flee on this earth. Right now I see right wing Europeans with panic in their eyes because they think that all these fugitives will come to us, steal our women and jobs and destroy all of Europe. But let’s take a closer look again.
73% of refugees are in their neighboring countries and 68% of all refugees in the world come from only 5 countries. Which already shows that Europeans do not have to worry, but should seriously question why they are not doing more to help these refugees. Although Germany has offered protection to 1.1 million people, other countries have contributed much more to the shelter of refugees. As shown in the graph above, 85% of the refugees are accommodated in developing countries.
If you look where the 10 largest refugee camps are located, you will see that 7 of these 10 are located in Africa. (as of 2018) Alone 5 of them are located in eastern Africa. But this problem is not a recent one. 5 of these 7 refugee camps have been there for more than 25 years, Katumba in Tanzania even since 1972. So while African countries are busy taking in people in need and helping them, our mayor is afraid of 100 underage refugees and thinks that as a rich country we do not have the capacity.
As you can see in the graph, 80% of the refugees are from areas where acute food insecurity and malnutrition is prevalent. This will not improve but rather worsen due to climate change and natural disasters. Therefore, it is important for Europeans not to be afraid of strangers, but to take responsibility and show humanity and accept people who seek protection. Even after all, we, as Europeans, are not doing enough while the most affected areas and continents, like Africa, are working hard to protect people.
- UN Refugee Agency (2020): Figures at a Glance. https://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html
- Raptim (2018): Worlds Largest Refugee Camps in 2018: https://www.raptim.org/largest-refugee-camps-in-2018/