Today, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 65.3 million people around the world have been forced out of their homes. Of these, 21.3 million are living as refugees. It is the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War.
Of the countries where people have fled their homes to avoid violence and persecution, the destruction in Syria has displaced millions of people. Today, 6.5 million Syrians are displaced within their own country, while more than 4.7 million have sought refuge across borders.
The United States has taken the lead to help mitigate this unprecedented refugee crisis.
Working through non-governmental and international organizations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme, the United States has provided nearly $6 billion worth of humanitarian assistance to those displaced both within Syria, and to Syrian refugees in the region since the start of the crisis. This assistance provides medical care, food, shelter, clean water and sanitation, as well as education for children and job training for adults.
Syria’s immediate neighbors now host the lion’s share of Syrian refugees, and the United States has sought to provide assistance to these nations since the beginning of the crisis. Since the start of the crisis, U.S. humanitarian support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon totals more than 1.2 billion dollars; support for Syrian refugees within Jordan totals 825 million dollars, and support for Syrian refugees in Turkey totals $447 million.
In addition to our assistance funding, the U.S. is the world’s leading resettlement country, having welcomed nearly 85,000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees within the United States this year alone, said Director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Refugee Admissions Larry Bartlett. And we will continue to do so. In September, President Barack Obama announced that this fiscal year, the United States will resettle 110,000 refugees from all over the world.
In President Obama’s words, “This crisis is a test of our common humanity -- whether we give in to suspicion and fear and build walls, or whether we see ourselves in another.”