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Red Cross Helps as Refugees Flee Homelands


Millions of refugees are fleeing conditions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, creating one of the most daunting humanitarian crises in decades. The Red Cross is working in numerous countries to help as these families migrate from their homeland in search of a better life.

Millions have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The refugee crisis is growing, extending beyond the Middle East to many nations in Europe where tens of thousands are fleeing to escape conditions at home.


Across the Middle East and Europe, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are responding to the growing refugee crisis. Red Cross workers are helping around the clock to assist the increasing number of people arriving every day. See pictures here of the situation in Greece. More pictures are also available covering the situation along the Mediterranean Sea.

Just this past weekend, Austrian Red Cross volunteers supported more than 15,000 people who crossed the border from Hungary in just 48 hours. Mobile kitchens offer the refugees hot drinks and warm food. Medical assistance and first aid is available. And beds are ready for the tired travelers, many of whom have journeyed on foot.

Hungarian Red Cross workers are helping, providing food, hot drinks, blankets and waterproof covers for the migrants. More than 154,000 people fleeing conflict and extreme poverty have entered Hungary this year.

The Red Cross of Serbia is helping the thousands of migrants who cross through the country every week – families, the disabled, the elderly, the young – all hoping to make it to Europe. Red Cross workers are distributing food parcels, water and hygiene items. In some reception centers, families can rest and take a shower, get something to eat.

More than 180,000 migrants have arrived in Greece this year. Near Athens, workers from the Hellenic Red Cross prepare and deliver food three times a day to a reception center for the migrants, most of them from Afghanistan. There are also organized activities for children. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people arrive every day on the island of Lesbos. Another Red Cross reception center is there, providing assistance to the refugees.


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is mandated by the Geneva Conventions to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and violence. ICRC workers are on the ground in Syria, supporting the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and Red Cross societies in Lebanon and Jordan to provide urgently needed assistance to millions.

In the first half of this year, the ICRC and SARC provided food for 4.7 million people, clean water for almost the entire population and health care for 32,000 displaced people. Red Cross workers distributed soap, blankets and towels to as many as 800,000 people and learning supplies to more than 19,000 children displaced by the fighting. Others are helping people find relatives through tracing.


These are just a few examples of how the Red Cross around the world is assisting the millions of people displaced by conflict and impossible conditions in their home countries. You can read the Restoring Family Links blog to learn more. The ICRC also has information available about how they are helping. And you can visit the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies web site for even more information about this crisis.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.