About the Global Refugee Crisis and How to Help

By Holly Rosen Fink

April 3, 2017

Sixty million people, including many women and children, have been displaced due to the global refugee crisis. The grave situation broke through the national consciousness after a photo of Alan Kurdi, a young Syrian child, went viral in 2016. The photo not only helped to spread the word about the tragic fate that lies in store for so many of these people, but it also helped to restore faith in humanity, as people around the world have stepped up in the days since to offer help.

Here is a list of some our partners and the incredible work they have been doing to help refugees and how you can help.


Millions of child refugees are currently caught in wars in more than a dozen countries, across four continents, according to UNICEF. They are responding by delivering lifesaving supplies to children and their families fleeing escalating violence in the Middle East and Northern Africa, providing water and tents to create safe spaces for the growing wave of children moving through Europe, and working to improve the lives of children fleeing violence and abuse in Central America.

Watch an animated version of Mustafa’s traumatic and dangerous journey from Syria to Germany as a child refugee.


Syrian refugee children

Photo courtesy of UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis.

UNHCR works in 128 countries around the world.  They are focused not only on the refugee crisis in Syria, but also in Yemen, South Sudan, Indochina, Uganda, Iraq and Nigeria. They are addressing the hard work needed to help the displaced. They providing services like legal protection, administration, community services, public affairs and health.


Yemen has of the highest maternal death rates in the Arab region. In addition, food scarcity is putting the lives of 352,000 pregnant women there at risk, and it could harm the health of 2.2 million women of childbearing age who are in urgent need of assistance and protection. An estimated 2.6 million women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence.

UNFPA is working to meet the urgent reproductive health and protection needs of women and girls. With local authorities, non-governmental partners and other UN agencies, UNFPA has reached nearly 1 million people with sexual and reproductive health care and services addressing and preventing gender-based violence.

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is working hard to relieve the intense suffering of refugee civilians inside Syria.

Photo courtesy of Mercy Corps.

Mercy Corps is working hard to relieve the intense suffering of refugee civilians inside Syria, as well as that of refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries. They are delivering food and clean water, improving shelters, and providing families with clothing, mattresses and other household essentials. They are are working to help children cope with stress. In Iraq, they have been helping people in need since 2003, urging authorities to take measures to protect the civilians trapped in Mosul and ensure safe passage for those on the move.

International Medical Corps

Wherever there is war, famine, or natural disaster, there are people forced to flee their homes in search of a safer life for themselves and their families. International Medical Corps is dedicated to serving refugee populations wherever they are, providing basic necessities and medical care to people struggling to keep their families safe.

Save the Children

Save the Children is investing a lot of their current resources to the situation in Yemen, where refugee children are facing a massive crisis.

Photo courtesy of Save the Children.

Like UNFPA, Save the Children is investing many resources to the situation in Yemen, where refugee children are facing a massive crisis.  They have teams on the ground, delivering food, water and vital medical supplies to the children who need them most. To date, they have reached 1.1 million Yemenis, including 635,000 children.


CARE is working to help refugees around the world. They are in Syria, in refugee camps like Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp complex, South Sudan and also in Southern Africa, where millions of people have been displaced due to drought and floods as a result of El Nino.

World Vision

Families in parts of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen will possibly experience famine in 2017 if they do not receive emergency humanitarian aid.The situation in many countries has led World Vision to ramp up emergency relief efforts and fundraising initiatives to meet the vast needs of refugees.

Take action challenge

You can reach out to our partners mentioned above and join their work to support refugees. Here’s how:

Header photo credit: Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar, walk towards the Syrian border, on August 11, 2014. Photo by Rodi Said/Reuters

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