Sunday, September 13, 2015

An Interactive Look at the Global Refugee Crisis, Region by Region

Kurdish women and children from Syria at a Turkish military checkpoint near Kobani, a Syrian town badly damaged by the war last year. Bryan Denton for The New York Times

The New York Times has published an interactive look at hot spots in what the United Nations says has become the worst migration crisis since World War II.

THE BALKANS - Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees are working their way north through the Balkans. Masses of migrants and refugees, many from Syria, Afghanistan and Kosovo, have been overwhelming border authorities in several Balkan countries as they try to reach Western Europe. The migrants travel in groups of just a few to dozens, moving north by bus, train, taxi or van. Serbian news media reported that some 70 buses of migrants entered the capital, Belgrade. Migrants in Macedonia told reporters that they were especially eager to move after Hungary said it planned to complete a fence along its 109-mile border with Serbia.

THE MIDDLE EAST - Syria’s neighbors have been making it harder for migrants to cross into their territories. Years of violence in Iraq and Syria have stretched the capacities of neighboring countries to accommodate the displaced. In Jordan, unemployment has almost doubled since 2011 in areas with high concentrations of refugees, according to a recent International Labor Organization study. Lebanon began to require visas from Syrians in January. Refugees now make up about 20 percent of Lebanon’s population. In March, Turkey announced it would close the two remaining border gates with Syria.

SOUTHEAST ASIA - Thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya, an ethnic minority from Myanmar, have fled from poverty and persecution. Indonesia and Malaysia, countries that in the past have quietly taken in many refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar, first reacted to the new rise in migrants by vowing to send back smugglers’ boats. Facing public pressure, they reversed their stance in mid-May, saying they would provide shelter to migrants still at sea. An absence of landings and a paucity of sightings suggest that the flow has subsided.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA - The European Union wants to stop smugglers near the African coast. European governments are divided over the fates of those who reach shore. In May, European leaders said they would form a naval force based in Italy to combat people-smuggling. The European Commission also appealed to the bloc’s member states to accept quotas of migrants to relieve the burden on southern states, like Italy and Greece, which are the main landing points. Poverty and war in places like Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria are driving migrants to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

- Fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists has severely damaged Ukraine’s industrial belt. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled to Russia. But European Union countries, like Poland, Germany and Italy, which are among the top destinations for asylum seekers, have rejected most applications from Ukrainians. Less than a third of the $316 million needed in 2015 for the United Nations’ humanitarian response has been raised so far. The conflict was particularly damaging to Ukraine’s economy, which is expected to shrink 9 percent by the end of the year.

Excerpts, read full article here.

Sources: Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration

Additional work by Sarah Almukhtar, Wilson Andrews, Joe Burgess, K.K. Rebecca Lai, David Furst, Alison Smale and Derek Watkins.

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