Refugee Crisis Update
There have now been somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 refugees who have made the arduous trek to Europe in the hope of a new life. Just over half of those people are from Syria. In Syria itself, more than 7 million people have been displaced by a civil war that is now in its’ fourth year, and which shows no signs of ending. According to the UNHCR, this is “the biggest refugee crisis the world has seen since World War II” – a quarter of all schools have been shut down, and more than half of all hospitals in the country have been destroyed. There are no jobs to be had, people’s savings are running out, and many have lost their homes. Europe offers the hope of shelter, medical services, and safety. First though, people must brave the journey, run the gauntlet of a sometimes hostile reception, and wait for the slow grind of bureaucracy to assess asylum applications – a process which itself generally runs at between a 40-60% rejection rate.
taken from “Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in graphics”, BBC News, 15 October, 2015
An interesting statistic here is that, while Hungary is not receiving the sheer numbers that continue on to Germany, per head of population Hungary is absorbing more than twice as many refugees as any other nation… and the infrastructure, such as it is, is not coping.
As the immediacy of the situation fades from view in cities such as Budapest, and as mainstream media shifts its attention to other things, there is often an assumption that it is because things are getting better. Some aspects are, but the greater reality is that these people have simply been shifted out of the city, out of the spotlight, and that the more recent influxes of refugees, now coming from the western borders with Serbia and Croatia, are not making it into Budapest at all. Rather, they are now being housed in ‘Transit Zones’ away from the city, and the living conditions have become dire, even before the winter weather begins to take its toll.
RTC will provide matching funds to every donation made up to 5,000 Euro, and 100% of all donations will be used for the provision of physical supplies – blankets and sleeping bags, food, clothes, baby supplies, toiletries – that will be provided direct to the people in need.
Thank you to those who have already contributed, including a couple of speakers who have donated their speaker honorariums to the relief effort. You make me feel proud of the community we are a part of.