At end of 2014 the number of forcibly displaced people in the world was estimated by the UN to be over 50M. The highest number since WW2. Africa, as ever, is one of the race leaders. But in the last 4 or 5 years it’s Syria that’s won the gold medal. 0.25M or thereabouts dead as dodos. Some 2.5 to 3M have fled the country and some 6.5M people are displaced within the country itself. A huge proportion of the countries housing stock is totally destroyed.
MB will repeat a little of his last post – of what he has witnessed in Istanbul in recent days. Which is startling, as MB was here four months back and the problem has increased at least ten fold it seems. Syrians are now the street beggars of the region. They are begging on every busy street, or train or bus station. Often with hand scribbled signs written in English asking for help. They are the the shoe-shine boys on the streets. They are the street hawkers selling packets of paper tissues, cigarette lighters and anything else they can to make a meagre living. They are the homeless sleeping rough on the streets in all weather conditions. Tensions with native Turks, naturally enough, is increasing.
By the end of 2015 Turkey expects to host 1.7M Syrians and another 0.2M others from Iraq & elsewhere. Turkey has provided, and continues to build, camps along the border regions. Mini cities of tented accommodation with basic services. But for many reasons (such as sanitation, prostitution and other vices of life in the camps) many fancy their chances of a better life in the Turkish cities where no Government assistance is provided. Very often it doesn’t work out.
What MB has seen in recent days will multiply again in the coming months and years unless the regional conflicts come to an end and it becomes safe for people to return home. Presently, there isn’t much sign of any possibilities in that regard. Zero sign actually. Or the signs are that the conflicts will only get worse.
A few days back MB’s daughter and her schoolmates won an All-Ireland schools football final back home. MB saw the photos. Loads of happy euphoric smiling faces of teammates and schoolmate supporters. Face paint, frivolity & fun. Happy healthy kids. Living life to the fullest. The contrast with many of the faces in Istanbul was striking.
Recommending to double-click on the pics to get even better feel for the refugee dilemma. And putting one or two comments on some.
Outside MB’s hotel. MB passed this family a number of times over a few hours. The fathers head was at all times bowed facing the ground. Never once did MB see him look up. It seemed that he was in a state of shock and shame that he has found himself sitting on an foreign street begging for money, and this is the best he can do to provide for his family.
Including this pic again – which MB included in previous post. MB witnessed this lady cross the street much like a dog would. On all fours – hands and knees, as her feet were too sore to stand up & walk. MB saw her bare feet. They were a black & blue mess. If you didn’t double-click any of the above, please do so with this one. It still disturbs MB to see it in full size.