Syrian Refugee Crisis
This paper discusses the Syrian refugee crisis, the strategies to address the crisis, potential opportunities in this environment, and the conceptual strategy to improve the situation. The war began in 2011 after the establishment of the dictatorial rule and the excessive use of force by President Bashir Assad. It caused a serious problem among the Syrians, because many people died while others have become refugees both within their country and in foreign nations.
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Other countries and international organizations have participated in this issue by providing necessary assistance for the displaced Syrians. Many countries provide finances to cater for their needs and also host some of them. Humanitarian aid of such organizations includes the provision of basic needs such as water, food, shelter, clothing, educational and health services, as well as provides some employment opportunities. However, these efforts have not been effective. Many refugees lack necessary products and services due to the inadequate financing and hostilities in their new environment that compels them to engage in degrading and dangerous jobs as well as to move from one nation to the other in order to seek better places to stay. On the other hand, the countries that host them should see the opportunity of attracting both skilled and unskilled labor. The best strategy is to seek a diplomatic and political resolution to the war and to take care of the refugees by increasing funding.
Syria is suffering from the debilitating and unending effects of the civil war that commenced in 2011. The central cause of the war was the actions of Bashir Assad, the Syrian president, who ascended to power in 2000 after the death of his father (McHugh, 2016). Assad disappointed his fellow Syrians, who hoped that he would be a Democratic leader. His actions led to anti-government protests, which later sparked national protests. In 2011 a series of protests forced Assad to deploy soldiers and war machinery to the areas that experienced skirmishes. It made demonstrators face the direct violence of the security forces (McHugh, 2016). Rebel movements emerged to oppose Assads actions, and it marked the commencement of the Syrian war. Many people die and the survivors are seeking for safety both inside and outside the country that causes the refugee crisis. This essay aims to discuss strategies that address the refugee crisis, identify potential opportunities in the current environment, and finally develop a conceptual strategy to improve the situation.
Overview of the Syrian Refugee Crisis
The effects of the Syrian war put many civilians in devastating conditions so that some of them have to move within and outside the country. Out of the 6.5 million people, who have changed their place of residence because of war, about 4.8 million refugees are seeking protection in foreign countries and more than a half of them are children (World Vision, 2016a).
Most refugees have moved to the immediate neighbors of Syria, but others have managed to cross over to Africa, Europe, and America. The Middle East, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq are the main harbors for most of the refugees (Crawford, 2015). Among 4.5 million Syrian refugees, 2.5 million reside in Turkey, 1.1 million in Lebanon, 635,324 in Jordan, and 117,658 in Egypt (Amnesty International, 2016b). Therefore, the Syrian civil war has left many Syrians with no option other than to move inside and outside the country.
Some of the countries, to which the refugees have run, experience local challenges that make it hard to cater for the needs of the Syrians. For instance, Iraq hosts 245,022 refugees from Syria, and this is a population that makes this country experience hardships, because it already has more than 3.9 million internally displaced people (Amnesty International, 2016b).
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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered at least 2.1 million refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, while the Turkish government has released a formal statement of harboring more than 2.7 million of Syrians (United Nations Children's Emergency Fund [UNICEF], 2013). These numbers create a burden for the refugee hosting countries that are indirectly receiving adverse impacts of the war.
Current Efforts to Address the Syrian Refugee Crisis
A primary way to help Syrian refugees is to accept them and to offer adequate support by allowing them satisfy their necessary needs. Many organizations are working hard to address this crisis. Syrians, who leave the war zone, need some basic things to sustain their lives. These things include reliable water supplies, sanitation facilities, play and learning environment for children, employment opportunities for the adults, and other services such as healthcare among many others (World Vision, 2016b). World Vision provides food assistance, nutritional and medication aid for children and women, as well as water and sanitation services, play and psychosocial care for children, primary health care, etc. The United Nations also work with other organizations to provide humanitarian assistance.
Other organizations include the International Rescue Committee, Gulf Cooperation Council, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League, Amnesty International, and the European Union. For instance, the International Rescue Committee sent more than 2,000 workers, who helped more than 1.4million Syrians through the provision of treatment services, safety and support services, and educational aid for children (International Rescue Committee, 2016). Therefore, the primary strategy of addressing this crisis lied in satisfying the needs for the refugees both inside and outside the country.
Furthermore, countries should provide funding and refuge to the affected people in order to address the crisis. For example, in 2014, the United Nations issued an application for a fund in order to address the crisis, since the estimation showed that there was a need for $8.4 billion (Mercy Corps, 2016). Many countries have joined the aid by providing funds for the crisis. The relief organizations and agencies require financial aid that has prompted the US to provide more than $4.5 billion of financial support in order to help to meet the urgent needs of the Syrian refugees (Mercy Corps, 2016). The other countries that have made immense financial contributions towards meeting the needs of refugees include Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Kuwait among many others. Additionally most of the countries have provided safe places for the Syrian refugees, where they can stay and wait till the war ends.
The efforts of meeting the needs of refugees are to some extent ineffective. The United Nations (UN) has been struggling to meet the needs of these refugees, because the funding from some countries and other donors is inadequate. Amnesty International (2016a) asserts that the UN has received less than half of the amount required to support more than four million people from Syria. The problem of finance and inadequacy in meeting the refugees needs compels some of them to engage in dangerous and degrading jobs in order to have a secure income that can satisfy the family needs and to take their children to school. Some refugees have experienced hard times in foreign countries, and it made them move from one nation to another with an aim of finding a better place to settle. Many refugees are struggling to gain access to Sweden and Germany, because both these countries have promised significant benefits and asylum (Yardley & Pianigiani, 2013). Furthermore, providing residence to some of the refugees is not effective in solving the current crisis, since it exhausts the resources of the hosting nations. Cassidy (2015) explains that a big part of the GDP in Lebanon goes towards the provision of the basic needs for Syrian refugees. It deprives the country of an opportunity to utilize that money for the developmental of its own projects. Additionally, the presence of these refugees has negatively impacted its economy, especially the tourism sector, which resulted in the reduction of its GDP by 0.3% (Cassidy, 2015). Therefore, these strategies are not effective.
The organizations and countries involved in addressing the refugee crisis should adopt better strategies. First, they should encourage the fighting groups in Syria to resort to diplomacy, because wars cannot solve any problems. According to Kingsley (2015), Syria should find an amicable solution in order to end the war. Second, donors should increase their financial donations so as to meet the needs of the Syrians. The involved organizations such as the UN, World Vision, and Mercy Corps should connect their efforts to solicit for the funds in order to promote their humanitarian functions. Moreover, the Gulf countries should accept more refugees. Kingsley (2015) explains that Gulf countries such as the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have many excuses for not accepting the refugees. Their acceptance will be a great contribution to solving the situation. Therefore, the concerned organizations and committees should persuade these Gulf countries to take the Syrians.
Potential Opportunities in the Current Environment
The current environment has created enormous opportunities for those, who view the refugee crisis in a positive manner. Some refugees, who flee from their country, are educated and skilled. Proctor (2015) explains that the benefits of having refugees are clear, because those who arrive on the shores of Europe are young, educated, skilled, and have the willingness to integrate into the society quickly. The influx of this population into Europe is an opportunity to provide labor force. Furthermore, some of the refugees can use their knowledge to encourage inventions and run business enterprises, all of which are essential for economic growth and development.
The refugees are an antidote to the aging population of their hosting countries. Migrants from Syria form an asset for the European labor market, because they pay to the states more than they consume (Proctor, 2015). The number of working-age people is likely to fall to 2.5 in 2030 from about 3.5 in 2015 for the whole European Union, while in Germany alone the working population is likely to reduce by six (Gotev, 2015). At the same time, the old age population is likely to grow by more than 25% (Gotev, 2015). Such figures indicate that the dependent population will be high while there will be not enough workforce to support the affected nations. Fortunately, the presence of refugees from Syria is an opportunity for the European countries to acquire human resources in order to address the forecasted labor challenges.
Conceptual Strategy for Improving the Situation
This conceptual strategy aims at improving the lives of refugees, streamlining organizational operations in delivering humanitarian help, and promoting the amicable solution to the Syrian woes. First, the affected countries should increase their efforts in trying to reduce the inflow of refugees from Syria. The only solution that can lead to a political settlement of the war is diplomatic negotiations (Heisbourg, 2015, p. 13). Therefore, persuading the involved parties to solve the situation diplomatically is the desired goal. Second, there is a need to persuade the EU to increase financial assistance to the UN and other organizations that offer help in addressing the crisis. The quickest strategy to implement it is to outsource financial support from the EU, which should pay multiple UNs $2.7 billion in order to cope with both future and current refugee flows from Syria (Heisbourg, 2015, p. 15). The provision of financial support is a step towards the realization of better conditions for the refugees, who mostly reside in camps of their hosting nations.
The primary purpose is to ensure the protection of migrants and to satisfy their needs and demands. Irrespective of the status of migrants, it is important to protect the vulnerable populations such as children, women, and people with special needs (Metcalfe-Hough, 2015). Accessing health and educational services are some of the biggest challenges that the refugees face. Partnering with the UN and other non-governmental organizations in the assessment of the vulnerability of these populations is a primary objective for the vulnerable populations (Metcalfe-Hough, 2015). The provision of clean water for consumption, the provision of human resources that can educate refugee children, as well as the delivery of healthcare services through mobile clinics are vital steps in meeting the needs of the vulnerable refugees.
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The Syrian war has caused many deaths and subsequently made millions of people leave their homes to become refugees inside and outside Syria. They face devastating problems, including the lack of adequate basic needs, healthcare services, jobs, and education. Countries and international organizations have come to their aid by satisfying their needs and providing them with places to stay. Currently, many nations are funding international organizations in order to advance their humanitarian assistance functions in addressing the crisis. However, some of the strategies are not effective. For instance, the finances are inadequate. Countries should be willing to provide more funds to address the Syrian refugee crisis and to accept more refugees. The primary target is to end the civil war, so that the continuous inflow of refugees to foreign nations can reduce and those refugees that are outside their native country would go back home. Syrians are also a source of skilled and unskilled labor force for the hosting countries. The best strategy is to stop the war and then to take care of the refugees by providing them with the necessary services.