Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2022
Chapter 4 provides an overview of today’s global refugee crisis, driven by perspectives of refugees around the world. The Syrian war has displaced a stunning half of Syria’s prewar population, with nearly 80,000 of those Syrians having fled to nearby Za'atari; the UN calls it “the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time.” But it is only a part of a broader global crisis: today, more people than at any other time in history have been forcibly displaced from their homes. More than twenty-six million refugees, over half of whom are children, have fled their home countries entirely. This chapter provides a brief exploration of the major crises causing displacement, from instability in Central America and Afghanistan, to the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, to wars in South Sudan and Yemen. And it considers where most refugees end up: in host cities, in refugee camps, and – unfortunately only on rare occurences – resettled permanently in adoptive cities. It discusses how, due to continuing conflicts and tightening restrictions on acceptance of refugees, refugee camps are increasingly becoming like permanent settlements, despite their intended role as temporary safe havens.