Helping refugees and displaced people has been one of Malteser International's central roles since its first overseas engagement during the Vietnam War in 1966. Here, Secretary General Ingo Radtke explains our approach to helping displaced people and the current pressing demands of the global refugee crisis.Read more
Refugees and population displacement
UNHCR - the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, estimated that by the end of 2015, more than 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes as a consequence of war, persecution, or climate change. Population displacement on this scale has not been seen since the end of the Second World War. Around two thirds of those forced to leave their homes remain in their own countries as so-called Internally Displaced People - or IDPs. An end to the movement is not in sight - on the contrary, experts believe that the effects of climate change, population growth and armed conflict will cause the situation to worsen. The Syrian Civil war is now in its fifth year, and during those five years, the world has witnessed the outbreak of fifteen further conflicts: eight in Africa, three each in the Middle East and Asia, and Europe's Ukraine conflict.
UNHCR's statistics show that the largest group of refugees is the one created by the Syrian Civil War. At least 6.6 million Syrians are internally-displaced people - refugees in their own country, while 4.9 million have managed to flee over the border to neighboring countries. According to these statistics, Turkey is the country that has taken in the largest number of refugees. More than 2.5 million Syrian refugees live in the country, which together with those from Iraq hosts a total refugee population of almost three million.
In cooperation with our local partner organization, Malteser International has been providing cross-border medical aid for Syrians affected by the civil war since summer 2012. This includes aid for Syrian refugees in neighboring Lebanon and Turkey, as well as internally displaced Syrians who are either unable or unwilling to leave their homeland, while we have recently expanded our emergency relief projects for refugees and displaced persons in northern Iraq. Just as the refugee crisis is not limited to the Middle East, our aid for refugees and displaced people encompasses a range of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Pakistan, Thailand, Myanmar, Uganda, South Sudan, DR Congo, Colombia, and Ukraine, where we work to provide an improved standard of health and quality of life for people who have been forced to flee their homes.
Refugees: Faces of a crisis
Every day, our work brings us into contact with people who tell amazing stories of the hope, tragedy, disappointment, and kindness that they have experienced as refugees or displaced people. You can read some of these here: