Zeynep Tufekci writes: The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, a staggering 60 million people displaced from their homes, four million from Syria alone. World leaders have abdicated their responsibility for this unlucky population, around half of whom are children.
The situation is sadly reminiscent of that of refugees fleeing the destruction of World War II and the Nazi onslaught. Then, too, most governments turned their backs, and millions who were trapped perished.
We are mired in a set of myopic, stingy and cruel policies. The few global institutions dedicated to supporting this population are starved of resources as governments either haven’t funded them or have reneged on their pledges of funds. Wealthy and powerful nations aren’t doing their part; the United States, for example, has taken fewer than 1,000 refugees from Syria.
The World Food Program was recently forced to cut its monthly food allocation to refugee families in Lebanon to $13.50 per month, down from $27 in January.
In Iraq, the United Nations announced that a “paralyzing” funding shortfall was causing it to shutter health care services, directly affecting a million people. That means that hundreds of thousands of children will not be vaccinated against polio and measles — a terrifying development risking the resurgence of these diseases in the already devastated region. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees calculates that 750,000 Syrian children in neighboring countries are out of school simply for lack of money. One result has been a huge rise in child labor, with girls in their early teens (or even younger) being married off. [Continue reading…]