In November, European Union leaders agreed to offer Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan 3 billion euros for the next two years as they seek his help to stem the chaotic flow of refugees and migrants.
Aid agencies are not convinced: So far, the humanitarian aid has been too little and too late. This will make a difference for Turkey and the more than two million Syrian refugees there, but it is still not enough. We need to help the host countries give refugees the opportunity to live dignified lives and make a positive contribution to the communities hosting them.
This will entail a massive international investment plan in return for the host countries allowing refugees to work, and thus giving them the chance to support themselves, according to the seven aid agencies. No work, no future, no family, no hope. That is not enough.
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Separately, The World Bank is working on new ideas for raising billions of dollars for large-scale investments. The plan aims to help host countries build infrastructure, right their economies and deal with the steep costs from the refugee population. Eventually, it would expand to rebuild war-stricken Syria, Libya and Yemen. The bank estimates it will cost billion US dollars over 10 years to rebuild Syria, and an additional billion US dollars to rebuild Libya.
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Syrians now face increasing challenges to find safety and protection in neighbouring countries, which, faced with overwhelming refugee numbers, insufficient international support and security concerns, have taken measures this year to stem the flow of refugees — including restricting access or closer management of borders and introducing onerous and complex requirements for refugees to extend their stay.
Neither Turkey, Lebanon nor Jordan has granted the Syrians refugee status, and legally they are seen as guests under a temporary protection regime provided by the Geneva Convention.
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We had nothing there anymore. Three years has passed since she and her family arrived in Turkey, close to the border with Syria. We were safe there, and received enough support to get by. But then the assistance was cut. She is three months pregnant, and is making the dangerous journey toward Europe together with her husband and two children.
The parents hope to be able to offer their children safety, necessary medical support and an education. The seven aid agencies argue that a new, creative long-term approach is needed. This would also allow refugees to contribute to the economy of the communities hosting them.
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Unable to afford rent or food, and relying on dwindling aid, refugees are pushed into a spiral of destitution and debt. Some 70 per cent of the refugees in Lebanon lack the documents needed to stay in the country legally, and many refugees in Jordan outside of camps are struggling to access medical and education services because they lack updated documents. Their skills should be put to good use, to allow them to provide for their families and support the economies of the countries hosting them.
New jobs could also benefit the millions of Jordanians, Lebanese, Turks, and Iraqis who are facing this crisis too. A recent UNHCR assessment showed that 86 per cent of those residing in urban and rural areas are now living below the poverty line, having exhausted any savings or other assets they once had. As a result, more than half of all refugee households have high levels of debt and are taking increasingly extreme measures in order to cope, such as reducing their food intake or sending family members — including children — out to beg.
A similarly bleak picture exists in Lebanon where the preliminary findings of a recent vulnerability study found that 70 per cent of Syrian refugee households live far below the national poverty line — up from 50 per cent in Here too, more refugees are buying food on credit, withdrawing children from school and resorting to begging. Some 4, Syrian refugees returned to Syria from Jordan in August, twice as many as the previous month, a trend that coincides with a sharp cut in food assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan.
In August, some , Syrian refugees in host communities already living below the national poverty line were told they would no longer receive food assistance, many others have had their support cut in half. The largest national group comes from Syria. There are also reports of hundreds of Syrians leaving daily through the international airport in Jordan, boarding flights to Istanbul — a first stop on the onward journey to Europe.
This year, NRC has seen an increase in people, particularly Syrian youth, taking contact to get information and counselling related to return and travels to other countries.
Young Syrian refugees, the ones supposed to eventually rebuild Syria, are unable to continue their education or support their families. Local housing markets and municipal infrastructuress are unable to cope. According to NRC, rent is the single highest expenditure for the majority of refugees, representing up to 90 per cent of their monthly household income. A growing proportion of refugees depend on external assistance and struggle to pay rent because of difficulties in establishing livelihoods.
In Jordan alone, there are in at least 48, less housing units on the market to meet the combined needs of Jordanians and refugees living outside of camps. Lebanon, which has no official camps for Syrian refugees, had been facing a deficit of affordable housing, amounting to a housing crisis, since long before the start of the conflict in Syria. Refugees who work without permission in either Lebanon or Jordan risk detention, fines or even deportation back to Syria. In Lebanon, complex, costly and arbitrarily applied regulations introduced in late , mean that refugees registered with UNHCR who wish to extend their stay in the country, have to sign a number of certified documents, including a pledge that they will not work.
In Jordan, refugees, like all foreign nationals, are required to have a government-issued permit to work, which entails strict procedures and prohibitive costs for most. Despite the risks, however, many are left with no choice but to seek some form of illegal income. Since most refugees from Syria are unable to earn an adequate income to pay rent or cover other basic necessities, they are forced to take on ever increasing levels of debt.
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Debt levels are often high or rising even when humanitarian assistance is being provided to refugees. Faced with few opportunities to earn a sufficient income themselves, parents are often left with little choice but to send their children out to work, sometimes based on the assumption that they are less likely to be arrested for working illegally.
Some refugee families send their young daugthers, many only years of age, back to war-torn Syria to marry them and collect the dowry. Perspective meets him after he arrived Chios, having crossed the sea from Turkey. Some friends of the family are keeping an eye on him; the year-old is making his way through Europe, miles away from his parents. He is glad to have arrived safely in Greece, and is already thinking about how he best can support his family from Europe. They all fled the war in Syria to Turkey some years ago, but it has been difficult for the family to get by in the new country.
According to Unicef, less than half of the 1.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
The rich countires, however, have so far only pledged to accept less than three per cent. It is not hopeless. Refugee hosting governments are giving positive signs of wanting to do more to allow refugees to help themselves. Now, world leaders from wealthier states in Europe and elsewhere must respond and present a credible plan for investing in the future of the Syrian youth.
Too many promises have been made to help refugees and host states without sufficient money and action. Another day shipwrecked Can you hear my prayer? Envie pra gente. Recomendar Twitter. Playlists relacionadas. Mais acessados. Todos Rock Gospel Sertanejo Mais.
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