What Is the Syrian Refugee Crisis?
The Syrian refugee crisis has been named the most massive refugee and displacement crisis of our time. The citizens and permanent residents of the Syrian republic have fled and continue to flee their country since the onset of the Syrian war. According to the United Nations, 13.5 million people out of the Syrian 22 million prewar populations require humanitarian assistance. More than eleven million Syrians are on the run. Of the eleven million, about six million are displaced internally in Syria. More than five million have fled outside Syria and are seeking asylum in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Most of the Syrian refugees are hosted in Turkey. As of August 2017, there were more than one million Syrian registered as asylum applicants in Europe.
Start of the Syrian Civil War
The Syrian civil war began on March 15th, 2011. The wars started as peaceful protests calling for the reforms in the Syrian government in the streets of Southern Syria. The demonstrations and movement spread to other parts of the country. The movements, however, triggered strong government crackdowns that resulted in violence. In 2012, Syria was caught up in a civil war with growing militant groups which received strong opposition from the Syrian military. Owing to the weak governance of the country and increased violence the civil war hastily led to the destruction of social amenities and institutions forcing Syrian to flee for refuge.
Why Are Syrians Fleeing Their Homes?
Violence has significantly contributed to the Syrian refugee crisis. Since the start of the civil wars, an estimated more than 470,000 people have been killed. Of these more than 55,000 are children. Syrians are also fleeing because of the collapsed infrastructure. Since the civil war began, the people of Syrian lack access to social amenities such as healthcare, food, clean water, and shelter. More than four-fifths of the Syrian population lives under the poverty line with more than half of the population of children out of school. Children in Syria are in distress and danger, causing their families to flee for safety. The children suffer from the loss of loved ones, violence, brutality, and injuries.
Every day, thousands of Syrians continue to flee their country. They escape especially after attacks are made on their neighborhoods or when their family members are killed. Most of the people who flee are women and children. The men and young men are captured by the warring parties to fight for their interests. The Syrian refugees flee by land and water. The women and children are forced to flee mostly during the night to avoid being shot by snipers from the warring groups. They are forced to walk for miles through the nights in search of refuge. Surprisingly, only one in every eleven refugees lives in refugee camps. Many of the Syrian refugees are struggling to settle in informal remote environments and unfamiliar urban setting in the places they seek refuge.
Effects of the Crisis
Over half of the Syrian civil war victims are children. The children affected by the civil war are vulnerable to diseases and malnutrition. The diseases are brought about by poor nutrition, starvation, and poor sanitation standards. Besides, the young children do not receive vaccination and checkups while in the refugee camps. The poor housing also exposes the refugees to cold-weather ailments such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
Many displaced children have minimal or no access to education. At the beginning of 2017, a survey carried out showed that only 61% of the Syrian Children Refugees had accessed some form of schooling. Approximately 0.8 million of the Syrian children have gone for a year or more without attending to any form of schooling. Most of the schools are not in use because they have been vandalized during the civil war.