According to the United Nations refugee agency, Syria is now the world’s biggest source of refugees, having overtaken Afghanistan in the last year. Meanwhile, worldwide, the number of people forced from their homes by conflicts rose to a record 59.5 million, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, does not expect the situation to improve any time soon.
“There is a multiplication of new crises,” Guterres said. “The Iraq-Syria crisis gained the dimension of a mega one … and at the same time the old crises have no solutions.”
The report comes at a time when Europe is grappling with how to deal with a flood of new migrants crossing the Mediterranean to escape fighting in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
The agency counted nearly 3.9 million Syrian refugees in 107 countries last year, the fourth year of the country’s civil war. That made it the leading source of refugees – pushing Afghanistan, which had held that status for more than 30 years, down to second place with 2.6 million refugees.
Syria’s northern neighbour, Turkey, became the world’s biggest refugee host with 1.59 million refugees. Turkey’s willingness to open its borders “has a special meaning in a world where so many borders are closed or restricted, and where new walls are being built or announced,” Guterres said, speaking the day after Hungary said it was planning to build a fence along its border with Serbia to keep out a flow of migrants.
- Pray for Syria and Afghanistan. Pray for lasting peace and for resolution of the political crisis in these countries that forces so many to leave as refugees.
- Pray for the countries taking in the refugees, for compassion, understanding and love, especially from the Christians and churches in these countries.
- Pray that more countries will open their doors to the helpless, homeless and hurting refugees.
- Pray for many refugees to come to know the healing love of Christ and the truth of His redemption and grace.
Proverbs 31 vs 8 – 9: “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”