Persecution, violence, conflict, poverty, war, and terrorism have sent millions away from their homes and victims march towards European countries for safety, survival, and better economic prospects. What makes this a real problem is the huge number of migrants involved. Migrants take real serious risks and they pass through dangerous routes like deserts and some of them cross seas in small boats. Unfortunately, many of these people die on the way before they reach their destination.
Causes of the Crisis
To them, if they stay back home, they will die anyway so it is better to die trying. This is rather disheartening and worrisome. The Syrian conflict is one of the causes of the crisis. It has forced many Syrians to embark on the perilous trips toward Europe and the conflict is still on.
Rough Road to Europe
Stories of starvation, deaths, and abuse have become normal as people take whatever routes they can to enter into European countries like how a drowning man will clutch at a straw. Even though Greece has received the biggest hit by this migration, Italy and a few other countries have encountered their fair share of sea arrivals too. Many Greek islands are already filled to capacity.
Some of the refugees head towards the Western and Northern parts of Europe passing through some Balkan countries like Serbia, Albania, and Bulgaria. New arrivals get into any space that is easy to occupy. Some stay in abandoned properties, some hit public parks and some make themselves comfortable in the forests. The most worrisome aspects is that most of these European countries are not prepared for such massive number of refugees.
When it Began
While the crisis began in 2015, the end of 2016 saw Europe catering for more than 5 million refugees and more are still trooping in albeit in fewer numbers. These refugees come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries.
Apart from those that have lost their lives, thousands have gotten missing because these dangerous journeys that doesn’t exclude women and children. To underscore how serious the crisis is, over 170,000 risked their lives embarking on a journey to Europe across the sea and over 3,000 of them got drowned. Within the first three months in 2017, over 5,000 children arrived Spain, Bulgaria, and Italy and about 3,500 of these children embarked on the journey unaccompanied.
What seems like a silver lining on the situation is the fact that UNHCR has positioned all its more than 600 staff in 20 different locations to provide the necessary assistance like food, water, shelter and medical care to refugees that have made it into Europe.