WRITTEN BY: BENJAMIN KALLISH | CONTRIBUTOR
SAN DIEGO – In the aftermath of warfare and economic disruptions all over the world, San Diego-based charities and organizations are providing relief to thousands of refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers. Mass displacements have recently been occurring in Africa and the Middle East, as starving Somalians, war-weary Syrians and persecuted Iraqi Christians flee their home countries to seek safe havens abroad. The immense destruction of Syria’s ongoing civil war has especially aggravated the refugee crisis, as the violence has caused millions of to people seek refuge in nearby nations and in Europe.
Citing state data, the “San Diego Union-Tribune” reported that San Diego County has taken in more refugees than any other region of California for the past seven years. In fact, last year, 6,100 refugees from around the world settled in California, according to the state’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. Right now, 74 refugees are living in San Diego to escape the Syrian civil war in. Among them is Ceko Kurd, 18, who told NBC7, San Diego’s NBC News affiliate, that his country is plagued by deadly violence and a lack of basic necessities, like food, fuel and clean water.“You don’t know if you’re going to wake up the next morning,” Kurd said. Two years ago, Kurd traveled across four countries for over seven years in order to reach the U.S. when he was 16 years old. He now lives in El Cajon, California.
International response to the refugee crisis has been mixed, with some countries taking steps to restrict migrants from crossing their borders. “The New York Times” reports that Austria and Hungary have joined with their Balkan neighbors to enact tougher border policies. In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under intense pressure from members of her own party, the ruling Christian Democrats, to impose similar restrictions in Germany.
According to an NBC7 report, Germany and other members of the European Union are struggling over how many refugees they should accept. In past years, Germany has taken in about one refugee for every 1,000 residents, according to data cited by various German news outlets, which is roughly the same ratio as in San Diego County. In 2014, the San Diego chapter of the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), located in City Heights, resettled 923 refugees in San Diego County. In addition, NBC7 also reports that the Obama administration is planning to admit at least another 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. next year, and 300 of them could call San Diego home.
photo by the San Diego Union Tribune