The refugee crisis in Europe has been dominating headlines in recent weeks after the following picture went viral.
Yet, what exactly is the refugee crisis?
A refugee is a person who is forced from their home country due to a bounty of reasons including persecution. According to Vox, there are 19 million people in the world who are currently refugees. Since these people have been forced to leave everything that they know, they have nowhere to go.
This is what the crisis is about. The refugees can’t go back to their home country, but few countries will accept them legally – or if they do, it is only a small percent. Vox stated, in a different article, that “the United States has only resettled about 9 percent” of 17,000 Syrians who are seeking refuge from a civil war that has ravaged the Middle Eastern nation.
This leaves refugees with only one option: to gain entry into a country illegally. Most of them come over by boat, which is very dangerous if the boat becomes overcrowded as we have seen occur many times throughout this year.
However, the refugees who do survive mainly reside in Greece and Italy.
Due to the Dublin Regulation, which requires refugees that have arrived in a country to stay there until their asylum claims are processed, these two countries have mainly taken the burden of the thousands of refugees that come to the EU every year. Once they get processed, the refugees usually go to poor countries. Turkey, Lebanon and Pakistan are the top three countries that host the most refugees.
Where are the refugees coming from? The majority of them are from Syria. Nearly one fifth of the Syrian population has fled since the war began in 2011. But the others are from countries such as Afghanistan.
What most people do not know is that it has been going on for years. It has gotten worse recently, with the amount of refugees arriving to the EU in June of 2015 almost doubling from the number arriving in June of 2014, according to the UN Refugee Agency.