The migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East lurches from one drama to the next by the day. First it's a rickety boat floundering in the Mediterranean. Next it's a new surge of migrants landing on European shores. Suddenly it's thousands of refugees stranded in an unwelcoming Hungary.
The numbers are also changing by the day. Here's a snapshot of the best and most recent figures as this unfolds:
4.1 Million: The number of Syrians who have fled their country since the country's civil war began in 2011. These Syrians are the focus of the refugee crisis in the Middle East and in Europe.
In addition, an estimated 7.6 million Syrians have been displaced inside their homeland. Combine these two groups and it means that just over half of Syria's 23 million people have fled or been driven from their homes since the war began, a strikingly high figure for any war.
348,540: The number of refugees and migrants who have applied for asylum in European states this year, a figure far larger than any recent year. Syrians account for just over half the total and many other countries make up the rest. They include Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, to name a few war-torn states, as well as many from western African states where the migrants have been motivated by dire economic conditions.
It's important to remember that all the refugees arriving in Europe this year account for less than 10 percent of the Syrian exodus in the past few years. So that raises the question: Where are all those other Syrian refugees?
1.9 Million: The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, the largest single concentration. In other words, Turkey has taken in far more refugees in the past few years than all of Europe combined.
Another remarkable number is the 1.1 million Syrian refugees now in Lebanon, a country that has only about 4.4 million citizens.
244,000: The number of migrants arriving in Greece, accounting for two-thirds of the total reaching Europe. Most of the others have landed in Italy. The migrants pass through Greece quickly, usually staying for just a few days at most. They are well aware that the country is suffering a brutal recession and lacks the resources to cope with them for any length of time.
98,783: The number of applications for asylum in Germany so far this year, a figure that is expected to accelerate rapidly. Germany has been more welcoming to asylum seekers than any other European country and says it could take up to 500,000 asylum seekers annually.
Like most every European country, Germany has a low birth rate and an aging population. Some parts of the country suffer labor shortages, and some German officials see immigrants as the solution to the country's demographic challenges.
2,800: The number of refugees and migrants who have died in the Mediterranean attempting to reach Europe this year. As with the other figures, it's up dramatically this year.
Fewer Than 1,000: The number of Syrian refugees the U.S. has taken in since the Syrian war began. The State Department recently announced that the U.S. could accept up to 8,000 Syrians next year. The U.S. has been a leader in humanitarian assistance to Syria, providing $4 billion in the past few years, but has been reluctant to take in refugees.
0 (Or Very Close To It): The number of Syrian refugees who have been formally resettled in the wealthy states of the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain. Both the U.N. refugee agency and Amnesty International put the number at zero, though some reports say a small number of Syrians have received asylum.
The Gulf states note that several hundred thousand Syrians are living in their countries. Most were already working in the Gulf when the civil war in Syria broke out and they have remained in the Gulf on temporary work visas.
A Breakdown Of Syrians Displaced By War:
|“Internally displaced”||7.6 million|
|Serbia and Kosovo||49,446|
Internal displacement figures as of September 2015. Figures for Syrians in neighboring countries reflect what the United Nations calls “persons of concern,” which includes refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless and internally-displaced people. Data as from July or August 2015, depending on country. European asylum data as of July 2015.