Millions of refugees around the world are looking for a safe place to stay – simply for a fighting chance to survive. War, protracted conflict, and extreme climate change are driving people from their homes at a rate not seen since World War II. We wanted to cut through some of the political rhetoric surrounding the issue and ask the important question: what relief items do refugees and displaced people need?
Who Are They?
According to the UNHCR, the world’s leading body on refugees, there are now 65.3 million people globally who have been forced from their homes. Of these 65.3 million, 21.3 million are refugees. And over half of these refugees are children under the age of 18. Three countries, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria produce a staggering 53% of all refugees, while Jordan, Ethiopia, and Iran host the most refugees. In fact, nine out of 10 refugees are hosted in the Global South.
What Core Relief Items (CRI) Do They Need?
Core relief items (CRI) are the most basic items necessary for survival once displaced people have been forced from their homes. They are not aspirational or ‘nice to have’ but, quite simply, what refugees and displaced people need to survive the harsh realities of camp life.
Safe drinking water is crucial to survival. Similarly, clean water and sanitation are necessary to keep diarrheal diseases, malnutrition and a whole host of other illnesses at bay. Water filters, waterless toilets, and jerry cans enable refugees and displaced people to drink clean, safe water and ensure access to sanitation facilities.
At the most basic level, shelter not only provides a sense of safety, but also protection from the environment. Tents are used year-round, whether the sun is shining, it’s snowing, or it’s tropical storm season. Durable, high quality shelters are vital, as are blankets, sleeping mats, and plastic tarps. Mosquito nets are another CRI that help keep families, and especially children, safe from mosquito-borne diseases.
For people who have lost everything and are just trying to survive day-to-day, a hygiene kit, a sanitary pad, and even just soap and a toothbrush can make an enormous difference to their self-worth, their dignity, and ultimately their health. Similarly, kitchen sets are another CRI that allow families to cook and eat together, a somewhat normalizing activity after what can be a harrowing and brutal journey to safety.
With over half of refugees being children, meeting nutritional needs is important. In low resource settings finding or making appropriate foods is highly challenging. Ready-to-use foods can give these kids a fighting chance.
Want to learn more? Read about the Top 5 Countries of Refugees, Syria: The Story of Conflict, and The Social and Economic Impact of Refugees. Or head on over to The Level Market to find core relief items.