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The numbers behind Europe’s refugee crisis

September 8, 2015

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Germany has flung open its arms to refugees.Photo via Oldenburger Fan Initiative on flickr.

In July, we reported on the growing Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. Now, it is front of mind in every corner of the world.

Here, via ABC News, are some key numbers about the situation. And we’ll give you ideas to frame the story for your audience, too.

Number of displaced people inside Syria from the ISIS  conflict: More than 6 million

Refugees registered by other countries as a result of the Syrian conflict: More than 4 million

Mediterranean Sea crossings by refugees and migrants so far in 2015: 300,000

Mediterranean Sea crossings by refugees and migrants for all of 2014: 219,000

United States refugee cap in fiscal 2015: 70,000, unchanged from the previous year

Expected asylum seekers in Germany this year: 800,000

The Guardian has a good explainer on why the refugee crisis got so bad. German chancellor Angela Merkel says the crisis will change Germany, which in the past has been slow to offer citizenship to those who come for jobs.

She says the refugee crisis is as bad as the Greek debt crisis, which threatened to break up the Eurozone. Unlike that crisis, there is no agreement among European nations on a master plan.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis urged every Roman Catholic church, religious order and shrine to accept a Syrian refugee family, and said the Vatican would host two.

Because many refugees prefer to stay on their home continent, the flood of refugees has not yet affected the U.S. But that could soon change.

For story ideas, contact leaders of your local Syrian-American community. Call business owners and travel agents. See if any representatives have gone to Germany to help with the crisis. Are there any newcomers in your community from Syria? Do they have stories to tell?

Universities also might be a good source for experts on Syria and students from Syria.


  • Micheline Maynard

    Micheline is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post concentrating on business and culture. She has written about flooding in Detroit, tainted water in Benton Harbor, nationwide shortages of restaurant staff, and vaccine hesitancy.

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