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14 most populous country in the world. The number of refugees has exceeded 100 million.

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On June 20, we celebrate World Refugee Day, which this year commemorates the gloomy statistics – already over 100 million people forcibly live far from their homes. The refugees would thus create the 14th most populous country in the world. Climate change and armed conflicts remain the main causes of this state of affairs.

If the refugees had created their own country, the population would be similar to that of Egypt. However, this scenario will not come true, the 14th most populous country in the world will not be replaced by a new country in which millions of people could count on security. For some of them, systemic solutions are planned, run by the authorities and non-governmental organizations – refugee camps. However, even there, one has to wait for years to arrive, which means that only one in five refugees finds refuge there.

When thinking “refugee” we have before our eyes certain ideas that do not have to be truthful, we simplify this person, we lose the image of him as an individual. In this respect, the last few months, the crisis on the border with Belarus and the war in Ukraine have been an important lesson for us. Because it was the first time that many of us had the opportunity to verify our knowledge about refugees and even get involved in helping ourselves – says Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from the Polish Medical Mission. The Krakow organization is present, among others in the Baharka and Qushtapa camps in Iraq. Before the advent of Polish aid, the residents were under medical care to a very limited extent, and they did not have access to a dentist. This is a common problem – the camps are overcrowded, which makes it difficult to find effective help.

In 2010, the global number of refugees was half of today’s number, while according to the World Bank’s forecasts, it may increase to 216 million by 2050. This is primarily the result of the climate crisis – over the last decade, climate refugees have been twice as large as due to conflicts. Natural disasters occur more and more often, and their scale is increasing every year, including new territories previously considered safe.

Climate refugees are more complex. In the event of a war, we know where the conflict ends, where the refugees will be and how to provide them with help. Whereas sudden weather events such as floods do not know man-made borders, people move in a less controlled manner, intuitively seeking the shelter they need as soon as possible. Ultimately, ever larger communities live in a smaller and smaller space, coming from different groups, sometimes in conflict and fighting with each other for access to limited resources – explains the representative of the organization.

This does not mean, however, that there is only one source of problems. Last year, the world turned its eyes to Afghanistan, where more than 700,000 inhabitants have had to leave their homes in a short time. The following months showed that the threat is ubiquitous. Not only from the new government, which does not allow any deviations from the restrictive religious rules, but also in connection with the food crisis caused, among others, by prolonged drought and locusts destroying modest crops. Thus, the humanitarian catastrophe caused another wave of refugees. For those who have started their trek once, the future is unknown. All they know is that they have a long way to go to the life they know from the past.

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