The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported, according to Reuters, that more than 7,000 migrants may have perished while at sea or while making treacherous treks through the desert. The official number stands at 2,360 people having died while chasing hope of a new life.
William Lacy Swing, director general of the IOM, said “We will never know the true total, as many migrants died anonymously in deserts, in oceans or other accidents.” Desperation is the motivating force in the minds of these people. There is simply no other explanation for the willingness to risk the lives of not only themselves but their families.
Some of these numbers can be attributed to the current events transpiring in Syria that are now taking a large toll on Lebanon. The New York Times reports that Syrian refugees have been living in “box shelters” made of plywood walls, concrete foundations of barely 250 square feet with one door, two windows and a corrugated zinc roof.
Lebanon had put a ban on these and other shelters because they regarded them as a threat to an already fragile nation. Makram Malaeb, a manager in the Syrian refugee crisis unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs says “the fear of permanence is very embedded in the Lebanese political psyche.” This stems from the history of Palestinian refugees that were supposed to stay for no more than one month in 1948 and now have a population of 500,000.
Housewares giant IKEA is finally being allowed to build better shelters for refugees stated TIME. More than two million Syrians have fled to Lebanon since the conflict began in 2011. Now in Lebanon, Syrian refugees make up nearly 25 percent of the population worsening the burden of an already unstable infrastructure that can barely support sanitation, health and educational needs of its own people.
Throughout this dilemma, the New York Times reports that the United Nations announced a record appeal for victims of the Syrian conflict last week as a part of the largest request it has ever made for global humanitarian emergency financing. $13 billion is needed by aid agencies for relief operations worldwide in 2014 and half is just for Syria.
Lebanon may have a right to be worried. A survey recently released by the International Rescue Committee, a refugee relief group found that the price of bread in many parts of Syria had risen 500 percent over two years which is an obvious problem. This combined with the fact that three-quarters of the same group surveyed said that food is their greatest need is a recipe for disaster.
New IKEA housing frames being are being built, more and more refugees are dying or fleeing their home countries and necessary funding is at an all-time high. What can be done to prevent the further escalation of these problems?
– Lindsey Lerner