I can’t imagine being displaced from the safety and security of my home. I can’t even fathom what it’s like to survive without food, friends, family and shelter. I can’t visualise being surrounded by so much hate, gunfire, shelling and death. I can’t contemplate a fear so chilling that I’m forced to take an incredible risk to get out of a dangerous situation.
Yet one person on the planet every two seconds flees on foot, by vehicle or boat to escape and seek sanctuary elsewhere. I wonder why anyone would risk a buffeting sea until I actually consider the environment of where they’ve come from.
June 20 is World Refugee Day. There were 51.2 million refugees reported in 2013 which exceeded the numbers after WW2. This has grown to an extraordinary and record number of 68 million refugees in 2017. While conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Congo areas continue, the numbers of displaced people will grow.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) recent report, one in every 110 people on our planet is a refugee, internally displaced or is seeking asylum. It’s a staggering figure but what is even more tragic is that 25 million are under the age of 18.
Most of us in the Western world are very fortunate and we all have a responsibility to do something whether it’s to support organisations who help refugees such as the UNHCR (http://www.unhcr.org/uk/), agitate our own government and elected officials or simply take the time to reflect and change our attitude and mindset about our fellow human beings.
Many of us would no doubt have relatives or ancestors who were refugees. Indeed, within my own family there are refugees from WW2 and the Greek Civil War.
Refugees don’t choose to run because they want to, they’re put into a position where they simply have to.