Refugee Crisis

Refugee Crisis

Millions of people in Syria and beyond are being forced to flee their homes, risking everything to escape conflict, disaster, poverty or hunger.

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The men, women and children who have fled conflict in Syria and beyond are in desperate need of shelter, food, water and medical care. Oxfam is there.


Fighting in Syria has claimed almost half a million lives and triggered a massive exodus. More than 11 million people have fled Syria, joined by countless others, most of whom are escaping conflict. We are providing lifesaving aid to displaced people in the Middle East and beyond, and we’re helping families meet some of their basic needs as they travel beyond the region to seek safety.
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Refugee Crisis
Samira's story
Samira's story

Samira is living with 12 other members of her family in a one room shelter. Half of the wall is made from cardboard and plastic sheeting. There is hardly any heating and the floor is wet.

“I cannot get any sort of sleep at night. I just can’t stop thinking about how to feed my children and how to protect them.

Sometimes I try to sell things that I have in order to get some money for food for the children.”

Samira decided to come to Lebanon because of the fighting in Syria. Despite trying to live a peaceful life, the shelling and shooting was happening right outside her home.

“It has been eight months since I left my home, I have no idea what happened to it - we just had to leave it behind to escape because of the fighting.

At first I was very reluctant to move to Lebanon, I changed my mind a lot but finally I decided to come here.

We couldn’t get any food anymore, we couldn’t live our lives, we lost our jobs and we worried that we couldn’t stay alive.”

What we're doing

In Europe, saving lives is our first priority and we are at work in Italy providing life-saving support and supplies to refugees who have been saved from the Mediterranean there. We are also calling on world leaders to secure an immediate and lasting political solution to the conflict, and on Europe to develop a humane policy which guarantees the safety of those forced to risk their lives in the Mediterranean. Oxfam Italy has been working with migrants, asylum seekers and refugees since 1998. From 2011, when the Italian government declared a state of emergency due to the massive influx of people coming to the Italian shores, Oxfam Italy’s assistance has focused on: • Housing; Provision of food, clothes, shoes, personal hygiene kits; Legal assistance and registration; Access to health and social services; Psychological support; Language and vocational training; and Leisure activities and voluntary work. Currently Oxfam Italy works in two regions: Tuscany where 450 asylum seekers have been supported and Sicily where plans for assisting 1,700 (700 of which children) are under way. In Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, we are helping more than 1.5 million people with life-saving clean water, sanitation, and vital support for families who have lost everything. In Jordan and Lebanon, we are supporting refugees with clean drinking water or cash and relief supplies, such as blankets and stoves and vouchers for hygiene supplies. We are helping families get the information they need about their legal and human rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services. We have built shower and toilet blocks in refugee camps, informal settlements along routes used by people fleeing Syria and have installed or repaired toilets in communities hosting refugees. Piped water schemes are being developed for Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp and in host communities in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Inside Syria, we are focusing on rehabilitating the water infrastructure, including repairing wells. We are planning to provide clean water to 1.5 million people and working on public health promotion, solid waste management and supporting livelihoods.


Inside Syria Oxfam is providing clean water to at least one million people through water trucking, and repairing wells and water infrastructure. In Lebanon, Oxfam has installed or repaired toilets in communities hosting refugees, and we’re developing piped water schemes for host communities in the Bekaa Valley. In Jordan, we're providing water and sanitation to nearly 25,000 people in Zaatari camp, and we have already built toilets, showers and laundry areas to help those at risk.


We've helped larger numbers of refugees to prepare for the cold winter months in Lebanon. This involves giving people warm clothes, mattresses, blankets, heaters, rugs, kitchen utensils, hygiene kits and plastic sheets for weather proofing.


We are distributing blankets and $73 dollars worth of vouchers for food and hygiene kits to families to spend as they choose in supermarkets. Supplying cash usually proves to be a more efficient means of getting much needed supplies to the people who need it most. People also find it helps them to maintain their dignity.


Many families in the refugee camps are exhausted and traumatised. They’ve faced bombs and bullets and have had their homes destroyed. Rape is a real feature of the war in Syria, and is cited by many refugees as the reason for fleeing. Our local partners are supplying psycho-social support and counselling. We are also helping families get the information they need about their rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services.
Refugee Crisis

From our blog


Aleppo – voices from the ground

Cut off from supplies and heavily bombarded, the people of in the Syrian city of Aleppo have borne the brunt of the fighting and have suffered far too much and too long in this bloody conflict.

It’s time to stand as one with refugees worldwide

Almost a year on from the dramatic images of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe to rebuild their lives and the tragic death of three-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi, offering safe haven to people on the move remains elusive. With the E.U.-Turkey deal that returns refugees en masse to Turkey, the mood is ever darkening.

Ireland stands with Syrian refugees - 5 years on

“What’s with the shovels?” It was late October and I was standing in the baking heat, surrounded by the makeshift tents that Syrian refugees must call home for now on a dusty stretch of land in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. “It’s for the snow,” my Oxfam colleague Mohammed replied, as he distributed water filters with one arm and the shovels with the other. “They’ll need to clear it away from the tents in a few weeks’ time.”

As winter settles in, refugees from Syria face increasing hardship

It is nearly 5 years since the start of the conflict in Syria, and an unprecedented human tragedy continues to unfold on an unimaginable scale. Hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping the ongoing conflict in Syria face another winter of dreadful conditions in Lebanon and Jordan.

The loveliest letter you'll ever read

helping syrian refugees
Grace and Nina wanted to help Syrian refugees so they took action and raised funds to support our work.
When we received their lovely letter, we just had to go meet them in person.