Responding to urgent needs of refugees in the Mediterranean

Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria

September 8, 2015

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  • Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

Note: This article was originally published on September 2, 2015. It was updated on September 8, 2015 to reflect the latest information on our response.

After more than four long years of war in Syria, millions of refugees are still searching for safety and peace as they wait for a chance to return home. The humanitarian crisis is staggering — 11 million people, totaling half of Syria’s population, have either died or fled their homes since the war began in 2011.

Many have sought refuge in neighboring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, but others are making the dangerous journey toward Europe.

Families are risking their lives — crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece, desperate to find a better future. Just last month, it’s estimated that 2,000 refugees attempted the perilous crossing every day.

In the past year, more than 300,000 people have embarked on the same treacherous journey, but not all of them make it to the other side alive. We are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of refugees currently fleeing across the Mediterranean.

Recently, a team of Mercy Corps emergency responders traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos to assess the urgent humanitarian needs that seem to be growing larger by the day. Our experts concluded that the most critical needs for refugees are clean water, sanitation services, temporary shelter and food.

Now, we are mounting a response to provide humanitarian assistance to the influx of refugees arriving to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Kos. We will distribute water and food, and help refugees with information stations and communication services.

For years, Mercy Corps has been working to bring emergency relief to millions of people suffering inside Syria and those seeking safety in neighboring countries.

Our work is currently helping nearly 4 million people in the area — Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey — get the food, water, shelter, household supplies and clothing they need. We have also focused on creating safe spaces for children traumatized by conflict.

You can help. Our work with refugees is only possible because of our generous supporters. Give today to help us send lifesaving relief to families fleeing crisis in Syria and around the world ▸