Refugees: EU humanitarian support to those forced to flee

1 million children are born into a refugee life every year. © European Union, 2021 (photographer: Begüm Iman)
  • emergency assistance at border crossing points and transit points
  • basic living conditions including food and sanitation services in reception centres
  • cash assistance to vulnerable refugees
  • shelter, health care and protection services for refugees at risk or with special needs.

Millions of refugees cannot be forgotten

The spotlight on the war in Ukraine and the wave of refugees fleeing the country should not distract us from the continuing, long-standing, quasi-permanent refugee situations affecting other regions of the world.

Where do refugees come from and where are they hosted?

What is their situation?

Refugees face protection challenges and lack access to shelter, food and other basic services.

How are we helping them?

© CARE International in Turkey, 2020.


For Syria, which remains the world’s largest refugee crisis after a decade of conflict, in 2021, the European Commission alone mobilised €130 million in humanitarian aid to provide vital assistance to millions of people inside Syria.


Turkey is the world’s largest refugee host country and currently hosts close to 4 million refugees, most of them from Syria. The EU’s humanitarian flagship programme in Turkey is the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), which provides cash assistance to help vulnerable refugees.


The EU has not forgotten the 6 million Venezuelans displaced in the world. In 2021, the Commission pledged €147 million to fund humanitarian interventions supporting Venezuelan migrants and refugees through a wide network of humanitarian partners across Latin America.


The EU also supports Afghan refugees. Close to 6.5 million Afghans still live as refugees in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan — many without registration or legal status. Over 1.17 million people returned from Iran and Pakistan in 2021. The influx of returnees has strained the capacity of existing services. It has also caused concerns about their reintegration and living conditions.

Myanmar and Bangladesh

Violence in northern Rakhine (Myanmar), which began in 2017, has forced more than 919,000 Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar remains the biggest refugee camp in the world, hosting over 870,000 refugees Rohingya remain vulnerable to exploitation and serious protection risks.

Helping refugees worldwide

Through its humanitarian funding, the EU aims to meet the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable refugee populations, including women, children and people with disabilities. We continue to support refugees during their displacement and when they return home.

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