World continues to struggle with growing humanitarian crisis

World struggles to tackle growing humanitarian crisis, as United Nations Refugee Agency, releases report detailing number of expected refugees for European countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

left4 of 4right A Syrian refugee swims towards a beach as others are seen on a dinghy whose engine broke down a few hundred meters from the shore of the Greek island of Kos after crossing over from Turkey, August 17, 2015.

United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced on Tuesday that, at least 850,000 refugees will attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European countries within the next two years.

Releasing their report, UNHCR said that "In 2015, UNHCR anticipates that approximately 400,000 new arrivals will seek international protection in Europe via the Mediterranean. In 2016 this number could reach 450,000 or more.”

According to the UNHCR, many refugees from Syria and surrounding countries, seek to move to European Countries due to the poor conditions they are facing and lack of sufficient funds to reorganize their lives.

UNHCR urged other nations to increase their annual intakes and accept more refugees.

Germany said on Monday, that the EU countries must accept more refugees, as the continent is facing its biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II.

A special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Migration and Development, Peter Sutherland, said that European Union should pay regard to a "harmonised system" and "fair allocation" as a road map for distribution of the refugees.

Adding that the European efforts against the urgent problem are not enough to solve it, all countries around the world must gather in an international conference, to find a solution for the growing refugee crisis.

Following the UNHCR’s calls for taking more responsibility on the issue, many world leaders expressed their suggestions to ease the crisis, which needs to be solved urgently.   

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, whose country could be facing 800,000 refugee claims by the end of this year, suggested to EU that the union should implement a joint system and binding quotas without putting rigid ceilings for them.

"This joint European asylum system cannot just exist on paper but must also exist in practice. I say that because it lays out minimum standards for accommodating refugees and the task of registering refugees," Merkel stated during a joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in Berlin.

German Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, also said that European countries should take responsibility for the approved quota by the union, and not put the Schengen System under risk.

Swedish Prime Minister, Lofven, stated that "Our responsibility is deeply moral. It is a human responsibility," he said. "We have to do this together. There are 28 countries in the EU with the same responsibility."

Following the appearance of a shocking image, which showed the lifeless body of the 3 year old Aylan Kurdi, who was swallowed by waves in the Mediterranean as he was trying to cross to the Greek island of Kos with his family, world leaders couldn't turn their backs to the growing refugee problem.

Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced on Wednesday that the country will accept 12,000 Syrians, on top of its current humanitarian intake quota.

Another country who couldn't stand idle to the problem was Canada. Provincial and municipal leaders pledged to accept more refugees in to the country.

Canada's Quebec province, also announced that 3,650 refugees will be accepted this year.

The country’s New Democratic Party promised Saturday to accept 46,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by 2019 if they win this year’s election.

Britain which disagrees with EU’s refugee policies, also announced this week that it would take thousands of refugees directly from the camps.

The country prefers to give donations to the areas in conflict, opposed to accepting refugees.

Spain pledged to follow the determined quota from the commission, as Poland announced that it would open the door for more than 2000 refugees.

Austria will provide accommodations for refugees as winter approaches and increase capacity at refugee centres.

Mr Sutherland also called on the United States, wealthy Gulf States and Japan to share the responsibility and tackle the growing humanitarian crisis.

The White House on Tuesday said that it would take steps to ease the crisis. White House Spokesman, Josh Earnest, told reporters at a news briefing that "Everyone is well aware of the sense of urgency."

Latin American countries didn't remain insensitive to the calls from the international organization. Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, on Tuesday said that refugees would be welcomed with "open arms" and Chile's leader Michelle Bachelet also vowed to take "a large number".  

However, Hungary vowed on Tuesday to speed up the construction of the anti-migrant fence on its southern border to halt the entrance of refugees.

According to UNHCR's report, more than 380,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea this year. 260,000 of them have landed in Greece and 121,000 in Italy.

Athens has warned the situation is "on the verge of explosion," due to thousands of people being stuck on its islands while trying to make their way to Western Europe.

"It was horrible the last three days... There are no rooms, no hotels, no bathrooms, no beds, no anything," said Hussam Hamzat, a 27-year-old engineer from Damascus.

TRTWorld and agencies