Global migration and refugee crisis

Record numbers of people have been forced from home and struggle to find safety.

New arrivals carrying their belongings enter Syria's Ain Issa camp for internally displaced people.
SYRIA 2017 © Eddy Van Wessel
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What is the global refugee crisis?

There are now 70.8 million forcibly displaced people around the world—more than at any time in modern history. These are people who have fled extreme dangers, whether to escape relentless bombing, an invading army, gang violence, or other life-threatening circumstances.

Those who have been uprooted from their homes often face further struggles on their journey to find safety, including lack of access to essential needs like clean water, food, shelter, personal security, and health care.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical care to refugees and displaced people all over the world. Increasingly, we see that people on the move are trying to survive not just the harrowing challenges of migration itself, but the harmful deterrence policies put in place by governments trying to keep out migrants and asylum seekers at all costs.


Humanitarian crisis in Central America

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How does MSF help displaced people?

MSF works in a number of countries that have experienced massive population shifts due to conflict, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Our teams are responding to a humanitarian crisis in Central America, providing medical and mental health care to tens of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing extreme violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and in transit through Mexico. And we're caring for large numbers of displaced people in the world’s leading host countries for refugees, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Lebanon, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

We are constantly finding new ways to treat displaced people wherever they are—even while they are on the move. Our focus is on providing vital medical care, including mental health support and treatment for sexual violence.

Under international law, refugees and asylum seekers have the right to protection from violence as well as access to food, shelter, and medical care. Increasingly, governments around the world—from the United States to members of the European Union—are closing their borders and enacting inhumane policies designed to deter refugees from seeking asylum. These policies trap vulnerable people in dangerous conditions and leave them exposed to further violence and persecution.

MSF’s actions are guided by medical ethics, which means that we have a duty to provide care for those who need it, no matter who they are or where they are. Bearing witness and speaking out about extreme needs and unacceptable suffering are at the heart of our mission.

41.3 million
are internally displaced, or forced to move within their home country
25.9 million
are refugees forced to flee their home country
3.5 million
are seeking asylum and waiting for a decision on their refugee status