News / Middle East

New Waves of Refugees Draw Attention to Long-term Trends

New Waves of Refugees Draw Attention to Long-term Trendsi
X
June 20, 2014 4:09 AM
Conflicts in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria have created waves of refugees, drawing renewed attention to the large number of people who have been displaced for years. As the global community observes World Refugee Day on Friday, the number of displaced people has grown to more than 45 million - the highest level in the past two decades. Zlatica Hoke reports that armed conflicts remain the dominant cause.
Zlatica Hoke
Conflicts in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria have created waves of refugees, drawing renewed attention to the large number of people who have been displaced for years. As the global community observes World Refugee Day on Friday, the number of displaced people has grown to more than 45 million - the highest level in the past two decades. Armed conflicts remain the dominant cause.
 
The number of refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq is growing. Iraqis who fled their homes after the 2003 allied invasion were joined in recent years by Syrians. Large-scale displacement has resumed with Sunni insurgent attacks in Iraq's north. Many ethnic Turkmen have left the city of Tal Afar.
 
"We were really afraid. We were afraid that a bomb would hit us or something, that something would happen to us. That's why we left," said one Turkmen fleeing the city.
 
Members of the Iraqi Turkmen Front say they will fight back.
 
"The Turkmen are in a difficult situation in Tal Afar. An estimated 150,000 people have fled. They need help. They will never forget what is happening," said the front’s Kasim Kar.
 
Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon are beginning to lose hope of ever returning home. Some of the children born there have never seen their country of origin. The head of the United Nations refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, visited some of the overcrowded camps this week.
 
"We have only 20 percent of the Syrian children in Lebanon in formal education, in formal schools where they can get a diploma, where they can use to move ahead in their lives. So, it's very little what we are doing. We need much more support from the international community for Syrian refugees, but also much more support for a country like Lebanon, for Jordan - countries that are facing an enormous challenge," said Guterres.
 
Countries near conflict zones that host large groups of refugees can find caring for them a significant burden. Guterres has repeatedly called for more donations from developed countries.
 
"An attitude of compassion and solidarity from the international community in relation to the Syrian refugees and to the countries hosting them is needed more than ever. And what the international community is doing is very little compared with the suffering and the needs of the people we met, namely those that we met today," he said.
 
While donors have difficulty satisfying the needs of existing refugees, new conflicts create new waves of displaced people. About 90,000 people have fled Pakistan's military offensive against militants in North Waziristan this month.
 
"We fled because of the bombardment. When the jets started bombing, and the gunship helicopters started bombing all over the place, we decided to flee," said one resident.
 
According to the United Nations, during the last year alone, someone was forced to abandon his or her home every four seconds. But figures reveal only one aspect of this human tragedy. Conflict tears apart the lives of thousands of families. Nearly half of all refugees are below the age of 18, and a growing number are fleeing on their own.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid