The Global Refugee Crisis: Where we work

The number of displaced people in the world has reached a record high. More than a million refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 but this is just a fraction of the tens of millions of people worldwide who have found themselves fleeing war, persecution and poverty.

65.3 million people forcibly displaced worldwide
86% of the world’s refugees hosted by developing countries
Less than 5% of refugees hosted by the five richest countries

Many are surviving in precarious situations and are unlikely to return to their homeland for years, even decades. Most worryingly, it’s been estimated that more than half of the world’s refugees are children, many of whom have lost homes and relatives and witnessed unspeakable acts of violence.

Christian Aid is entirely rooted in the need to help refugees who have lost everything and have nowhere to call home — as we did in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Christian Aid and our partners continue to provide support to refugees and displaced people throughout the world today. We work to influence the actions of power-holders in the decisions they make about those displaced and affected by conflict and violence. In this way we try to ensure that everyone can live safely, with dignity, and have a place to call home.

More than a million refugees have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean, with many arriving in Greece (via Turkey) from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority who arrive in Italy are from Africa. Christian Aid is currently working in Greece and Serbia through ACT Alliance.

Our partners are providing essential humanitarian support to refugees on the Greek islands of Samos, Chios and Kos. On the mainland in Athens, our partner, the Greek Council for Refugees, is providing legal protection services to unaccompanied children.

In partnership with Catholic Relief Services, our partner CARITAS is providing housing support to some of the most vulnerable refugees, while enabling children to resume their education.

In Serbia, our partner Philanthropy is providing humanitarian support and accommodation to refugees who, owing to closed borders, cannot continue on their journeys to sanctuary through Europe.

Christian Aid is calling on the UK government to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees, and to provide safe and legal routes for refugees to travel to, and through, Europe.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Iraq

The ongoing civil war in Syria, which is now in its fifth year, has led to 4.9 million people seeking sanctuary in other countries. Within Syria 6.6 million are displaced and 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees in relation to its population, with 1.1 million registered refugees.

Our partners in Lebanon, Iraq and within Syria are providing essential humanitarian relief such as food and hygiene kits: they continue to provide ongoing psycho-social support to children and young people who have been deeply affected by the conflict. We are providing support to some of the most vulnerable refugees, including women who have experienced gender-based violence, and those with disabilities.

Internally displaced people in Iraq

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is dire. Successive waves of armed conflict within the country have left more than 10 million people — many of them children — in need of assistance. This huge number includes 1.5 million living in areas of active fighting where access to basic services is minimal. In total 4.4 million are displaced.

Christian Aid has been responding to the needs of displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees, providing food, clothing, hygiene kits and health services to over 225,000 vulnerable men women and children in Iraq.

Gaza and the West Bank

Today, there are 5.2 million registered Palestinian refugees. The Gaza Strip is home to more than 1.76 million people, including 1.26 million Palestinian refugees. The conflict of summer 2014 displaced at least 500,000 Palestinians from their homes, compounding an already dire humanitarian situation. Our partners continue to provide critical humanitarian support, including vital psychosocial care for children and young people.

The West Bank is home to nearly 750,000 refugees out of a population of 2.4 million Palestinians. Their lives are significantly affected by Israel’s occupation. Our partners work to provide support to the most vulnerable communities.

South Sudan

Since December 2013, the conflict in South Sudan has displaced more than 2.3 million people. About 1.8 million people are displaced internally and 720,000 are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries including Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Sudan. Humanitarian needs are at critical levels. Homes and belongings have been looted or burnt. Women and children have been raped and civilians targeted and killed.

Since the crisis began, we have been responding through local partners, providing access to safe water, shelter, household items, fishing equipment and agricultural tools and seeds to help communities recover.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Decades of armed conflict have left a legacy of poverty and displacement. In addition, crises in Burundi, the Central African Republic and South Sudan have forced tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since 2011 Christian Aid has assisted more than 63,000 refugees from neighbouring countries and internally displaced Congolese. Christian Aid partners are providing food and other essentials to host communities sharing their homes with those affected. They are also repairing water pumps and working to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.

Medical and psychological assistance has been provided for 1,800 women and girls affected by widespread gender-based violence.


Since April 2015 over 250,000 people have fled Burundi due to violence caused by a period of political unrest. Some 25,000 people are internally displaced in the country, with limited access to humanitarian help.

With so many on the move, Burundi’s informal economy has suffered, farming activities have been disrupted and food prices have risen, leaving many struggling to pay for essentials.

Through our local partners we have given mosquito nets, blankets and medicines to families who left their homes with nothing. Our partners have also set up local ‘Humanitarian Disaster Committees’, to help communities respond to crises more effectively.


According to UNHCR Colombia had the world’s largest internally displaced population by the end of 2015. After more than 50 years of armed conflict some 6.9 million people are displaced inside the country — around 13 per cent of the entire population.

Our partner The Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace (CIJP) has played a crucial role in setting up humanitarian zones where returnee communities can live and feel safe. Our partners continue to work with these communities in their fight to return to their land, and seek justice for human rights abuses committed against them.


One of the world’s longest-running refugee situations is along the Thai Burma border, where there are 110,000 refugees living in nine camps. For three decades, Christian Aid partner the Border consortium has been the main provider of food, shelter and other forms of support to the Burmese refugees in who are living in camps in western Thailand.

Within Myanmar over 450,000 people have fled their homes. Our partners are also there to provide these displaced communities with healthcare and livelihood support.

To find out more about our emergency work please visit our website