Recently I posted about refugees from the Congo. Sadly these multitudes are just the tip of the iceberg. The world is full of displaced people, who are either running away, or have been chased away, by other people or by an environment crisis, from their homes and most of their dear possessions. I can’t begin to imagine how this must feel, but my heart goes out to them.
The United Nations has a Refugee Agency. Just take a look at their website for a glimpse of the extent of the problem. This year they ran a pilot project prior to setting up an annual Global Needs Assessment planned to launch next year. Its aim is “to outline the total needs, the costs of meeting them and the consequences of any gaps.” Their pilot covered the needs of the refugees in Cameroon, Ecuador, Georgia, Rwanda, Thailand, Tanzania, Yemen and Zambia. They found that, despite previous UN intervention, around 30% of the basic needs of these people remained unmet. They might have no shelter, sanitation, healthcare, education. They might rarely know where their next meal was coming form, or when they would be able to eat. They might still be in fear for their physical safety. They have estimated that they need a budget of $63.5 million dollars to ensure these needs are met in 2009. And that’s just in those eight countries.
On a different level altogether, is Refugees United , a not-for-profit organisation set up to help reunite refugee family members. Refugee families are lucky if they manage to stay together. Even tiny children can get separated from their parents. As a parent and grandparent myself, I just feel panic set in when I think of my five year old granddaughter being separated from her mother and the rest of us.
It seems that all I can do is support charities. Other than that, I feel pretty helpless in the face of all this suffering. I can only dream of a time when we can all live together harmoniously, and noone will ever have to flee their home or lose their children or family members to displacement.